Carolyn Jones, a sophomore at Colby College in Waterville studying government, says the election of Donald J. Trump as president affected her personally.

“As someone very involved in politics and government, it affected me very much as a woman,” Jones said. “(It) made me feel devalued because I am a woman and because this is something that I want to go into with my life. I felt like I didn’t belong.”

Jones, originally from Vermont, voted for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. “I was speaking with a fellow female government major, and she said, ‘I was planning on crying in front of my friends on election night because I thought I could be president one day, and instead I cried because I realized I never can be.'”

Those emotions are what’s driving Jones and hundreds of others from central Maine to attend the Women’s March on Washington. More than 1,700 people in Maine are planning to travel to Washington, D.C., on inauguration weekend to rally and protest. At least a few hundred of them are coming from central Maine, said Genevieve Morgan of Portland, one of the state’s organizers.

The grassroots effort is planned for Jan. 21, 2017, the day after President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration, to “send a bold message to our new administration on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us,” according to the march’s national page on Facebook.

The idea for a march came together on Nov. 9, the day after the election, and organizers are still working to fit the pieces together. Applications for a permit to rally have been submitted, and organizers are “confident” it will be approved, said Fontaine Pearson, one of the national co-chairs who lives in Memphis, Tennessee.


“People are just very frightened and literally just do not know what’s going to happen to them,” Pearson said. “So many people felt devastated after the election, and it’s sort of like what do we do next?”

Trump came under heavy criticism during the presidential campaign for making lewd and sexist remarks, from saying no one would vote for former GOP rival Carly Fiorina because of her face to the revelation of a now-infamous “Access Hollywood” video in which he used lewd language to brag about groping women and trying to have sex with them. A number of women also came forward to allege Trump had sexually assaulted them going back decades.

The march at the nation’s capital will help people feel like their voice is being heard at a time when many feel like part of the country “voted against (their) entire way of life,” Pearson said. Organizing the march is a healing process in itself, too.

“All the women, as they’re organizing in their state, are creating new and different relationships with each other, so they’re not feeling isolated, and they’re connecting with people they wouldn’t usually connect with,” she said.

In Maine, 10 local groups have been started on Facebook, ranging from the Caribou to Biddeford areas.

Among those attending the march is former Waterville mayor Karen Heck.


“It’s appalling to me that we could have somebody who could brag about sexually assaulting women and still become president,” Heck said, explaining why she’s going to the march. “I want to go and demonstrate that outrage with lots of other women who feel the same way.”

Heck, who was elected mayor in 2011, has worked on reproductive health issues for the last 35 years of her life. She took part in marches after Ronald Reagan was elected president and cut off funds for Family Planning when she was director of Waterville Family Planning.

While she’s taken part in protests and rallies throughout her life in Maine, she’s never done so in the nation’s capital.

Heck said the election of Trump is like taking the “bullying behavior” of Maine Gov. Paul LePage and magnifying it on the national stage.

“I mean, truly, how do you have someone who’s clearly bragging about sexually assaulting women considered fit to be president?” she said.

Heck hopes the march will prompt elected representatives to stand up against “policies that would roll us back 30 years,” she said.


She also hopes to see men joining in the march. “I think there are a lot of men that are appalled at what has surfaced,” she said.

Jones, the Colby student, said she first found out about the march from a woman she worked with over the summer at an internship. A group of students from Colby College are going together, but they’re still working out the details.

Jones is going to show the country that it “can’t do this to women” and other marginalized groups by “endorsing the rhetoric that the president-elect is endorsing.”

“Protesting after the inauguration will be the first step in proving to the people who feel that they are not worth anything anymore that we have their back,” she said.

Madeline St. Amour — 861-9239

Twitter: @madelinestamour

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