Marching En Masse From Mass.

Lianna Kushi, of Lowell, Massachusetts, walks towards the rallying point for the Massachusetts chapter Women’s March on Washington Jan. 21, 2017. She sports a “Pussy Hat” adorned with rainbow ribbon, the symbol that identifies the members of the Massachusetts chapter.A brass band provides music for marchers during the Women’s March on Washington Jan. 21, 2017. The band’s beats set the tempo for chants around them. Photo by Sarah Silbiger/BU News Service

WASHINGTON — Pink hats bobbed up and down at Garfield Park as a contingent from Massachusetts strained to hear instructions coming from a malfunctioning megaphone. One of the buses transporting some members of their group was delayed, so those who had already arrived had to stay at their rendezvous point a little longer.

Their journey here started with a Facebook post.

“I shared an invite with my Facebook friends and it really took off,” said Tami Gouveia, a PhD candidate at Boston University and lead organizer of the Massachusetts Chapter of the Women’s March.

Gouveia had the idea to go down to Washington the day after Donald Trump was elected president and quickly realized that it required real organization. She said that 5,000 marchers came down from Massachusetts on buses chartered by the chapter, and she expected 9,000 in total from the Bay State.

Marianne Farkas, a Boston University professor at Sargent College said “there are a lot of people here who haven’t marched before.” She traveled from Boston with her daughter. “It’s important to be here. We’ve come together. I know it sounds corny,” she said.

There was a march in Boston on Saturday too, but Farkas felt that it was more important to be at the Washington march. A large turnout would make it hard to portray this event as fake news. 

Kristine Sjostedt, a librarian and archivist from Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, said she was thrilled to be part of the march. She said she was inspired to come down because she was fearful of changes that may happen under the new Trump administration.

After taking one of the buses organized by Massachusetts chapter, Molly Dugan of Weymouth, Massachusetts, said that she was excited and energized despite getting almost no sleep. Gouveia said that they booked 100 buses in total and provided 130 scholarships in order to include as many interested people as possible.

Gladys Spongberg of Holliston, Massachusetts, said she had marched on Washington before. Wearing a pin from the 1978 March for the Equal Rights Amendment, Spongberg said she was back to finish what they started then.  “Last time you were here you were in a stroller,” she said to her daughter, who now was carrying her own children in the march.

When asked if the organization efforts faced any hurdles, Gouveia joked that the only issue she had was leaving her hiking boots on the bus. Beyond that she said that everything else had gone surprisingly well.

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