SOUTH ORANGE AND MAPLEWOOD, NJ - It was an early morning - a very early morning - for many in South Orange and Maplewood on Saturday, Jan. 21. Hundreds of people gathered before loading on to buses scheduled to leave from the Columbia High School parking lot in Maplewood at about 4:30 a.m., and from the NJ Transit lot by SOPAC in South Orange at about 5 a.m.
Organizers estimate that 34 buses with about 1,900 people left from South Orange and Maplewood this morning, with the last bus leaving South Orange at about 6:30 a.m.
The crowd in South Orange was full of people holding signs with creative messages such as "Women are the Wall and Trump will Pay," and "You Can't Comb Over Misogny."
Many of the women were wearing "power pussy hats," part of the Pussyhat Project, which aims to "support women's rights in a creative and impactful way," according to their website.
Alison Bradshaw of Maplewood stated that she was marching because Trump "has not been called to task for anything, and now he's the president."
Darleen Troutman, who lives in Bloomfield but was taking a bus from South Orange to travel with Bradshaw, explained that she was marching "because Donald Trump is a psychopath. We need to start making an impact and stop having people's rights being taken away." Troutman continued, "Trump is dividing the country and taking away the rights of women, minorities, anyone who doesn't look like him."
Bradshaw and Troutman also both mentioned that it felt great to see so many women, as well as some men, gathered to take part in the march.
Caleb Heinze, who was attending the march with his mother Kelly Heinze and his friend Mason Stern, all of Maplewood, said he was marching to "join the struggle for women's rights." Stern added that he would be at the march because he "doesn't want the progress of the last forty years to be rolled back."
Pointing to a sign that Caleb was wearing that read, "The United States of Immigrants, Citizens, Veterans, Muslims, Christians, Atheists, Jews, Asians, Natives, Whites, Blacks, Latinos, Boomers, Gen-X, Millennials, LGBTQIA, the Disabled, the Poor, the 1%, the Middle Class," Kelly Heinze said, "we're marching for all of them."
In addition to the march participants, there were also volunteers to help with the loading of the buses and to ensure riders were able to find their buses. Organizers also noted their thanks to South Orange and the South Orange police for their assistance in making sure the bus boarding and departure went smoothly, and to everyone else who helped (read more here: Preparing for the Women's March on Washington is a SOMA Community Effort).
As one woman said, "this is a true community effort. Donald Trump doesn't realize it, but he is bringing people together in ways he never could have imagined."
Participating in one of the Women's Marches? We want to hear from you. Please send photos to Anna Sandler at firstname.lastname@example.org.