The Women’s March on Washington, to take place on Jan. 21 — the first day after President-elect Donald Trump takes office — has inspired a West Side resident to make a local impact on a national movement.
Annie Williams described the morning after President-elect Donald Trump’s shocking Nov. 8 victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton as “devastating”. In the days following, she transformed her feelings of melancholy over the election results into action. She said she used to believe charismatic leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. were necessary to spearhead movements for social causes, but that she’s since had a change of heart.
“We have to be the change we want to see in the world,” said Williams, who regularly challenges people to examine themselves to discover the best ways to make change in their own sphere of influence.
Williams first began giving voice to her thoughts by participating in “The Rally to End Racism” in front of Trump Tower in downtown Chicago in mid-November. She said her attendance at the rally was in response to what she calls “divisive” messages from Trump during his campaign.
Upon returning home from the rally, she volunteered to participate in the Women’s March in Chicago, a “sister march” of the Women’s March on Washington. The March was organized in response to the divisive rhetoric of the past election cycle, according its Facebook page.
Currently, Williams is serving as the outreach leader for the march by using social media, emails and other forms of communication. To date, she has spoken in front of chapters of Black Greek sororities Alpha Kappa Alpha and Delta Sigma Theta, the Rainbow P.U.S.H. Coalition, the non-profit Bethel New Life, among others, about how the march is just the beginning of a new movement. Most of all, she said, she wants to touch West Siders.
“One of the things said at [The Rally to End Racism] that really touched me was, ‘Don’t just sit at home and post Facebook memes,'” said Williams. “You have to be active and get out there and do something.”
Williams, 60, a retired web developer for the federal government, has been involved in local politics one way or another since her 2013 retirement. She has worked on the board of elections in Cook County as an election judge and an equipment manager.
The Women’s March on Washington was originally scheduled to take place on Trump’s Inauguration Day, but was changed to ensure the march’s message was not lost, according to Williams.
By marching on the day after Trump’s inauguration, she said, it sends the message to him and to Congress that “we are here and we aren’t going anywhere,” she said, adding that the march is estimated to include 100,000 people — women and men.
“Some people look at the march and see it as a White feminist issue, but I don’t believe that,” said Williams. “I think all women are going to be affected by this administration and so our national campaign includes women of color.”
The Women’s March on Washington includes roundtrip bus fare to the nation’s capital which will immediately depart following the rally. Williams said the price of the trip can fluctuate between $150 and 200 depending on the number of confirmed riders. The march is set to take place at the United States Capitol, Independence Ave. & Third St. SW, starting at 10 a.m. EST, according to the March’s Facebook event posting.
For more information about Illinois’ Women’s March on Washington visit https://www.facebook.com/events/1270986692942913/.