When the group of a dozen women arrive at the staging spot for the Women’s March on Washington on Saturday morning — just after dawn, if all goes as planned, to grab spots up front — it will have been 24 hours since they left home.
On Friday morning, they headed out of town in their white rental van, a loose-knit group of friends of friends of friends. They range in age from 17 to 70. Some are gay, some straight, one transgender. All shades of skin tone, from dark to light. They are teachers, nurses, students, restaurant workers, animal rights advocates and retirees.
All felt called to join what for most was the first organized protest of their lives. Fueled by junk food, a passionate playlist and a belief that they needed to stand up and be counted, they spent 12 hours in a van from Louisville, Ky., and a night on floors, couches and inflatable mattresses in and around Washington, D.C., to become a dozen individuals in a sea of what is expected to be several hundreds of thousands of others.
Friday, 8 a.m.
The plan was to drive on Friday in order to ignore the inauguration. “Counterprogramming,” joked Bridget Pitcock, chief of staff at a managed care company in Louisville. This trip was her idea. Reading about early plans for the march soon after Election Day, she called her wife of three years, Meg Hancock, and announced they would need to rent a van and fill it with others who were “outraged and in despair.”
Now they had, and once the van was filled to bursting with people, luggage and hand-drawn signs, Hancock, an assistant professor of sports administration at the University of Louisville, paused before taking the driver’s seat to offer a prayer she’d written a few days before.