Politics

Women from across Kentucky are heading to Washington, D.C., to participate in the Women’s March On Washington, scheduled for Saturday, the day after Donald Trump is inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States.

Lauren North, a co-organizer of a group of about 1,000 Kentuckians headed to the march, said she’s attending to present the concerns of women, minorities and the LGBTQ community to the new administration, which she says doesn’t have their best interests in mind.

“It’s about a culture that’s created a great amount of fear for people who belong to these oppressed groups,” she said. “The fact that this administration represents that culture is just one part of a much bigger puzzle that we’re trying to solve.”

North estimated about half of the Kentucky contingent would be riding on buses overnight to the nation’s capital. Others are flying or driving themselves.

According to the national group’s website, they oppose Trump’s rhetoric during the campaign season that demonized women, immigrants, Muslims, African-Americans and others.

“We are confronted with the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear,” the group’s mission statement reads.

Large Crowds Expected

Officials are planning for more than 400,000 people to show up to the event, which is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. Saturday and last until 5 p.m.

Reena Paracha, a diversity coordinator with the Kentucky group and a Muslim immigrant, said she got involved because she needed to push back against Trump’s disparagement of people like her.

“I thought that being quiet and being in the background was really counterproductive,” Paracha said. “I have never seen that in a presidential election — where entire demographics were targeted.”

At one point during the campaign, Trump promised a ban on Muslims entering the U.S. He later walked back the plan.

Kentuckians voted in favor of Trump by one of the widest margins in the country; he took 62.5 percent of the vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton’s 32.7 percent.

Krystal Spencer, a student at U of L also attending the march, said Trump’s election has energized opponents of his policies.

“After the election, I’ve noticed a lot of college students rallying around the issue saying ‘this is not OK for our society, this is not OK that we’re growing up in this kind of world, it’s not OK that we have this kind of hate,” Spencer said.

Ryland Barton is the Capitol bureau chief for Kentucky Public Radio.