Molly Gallagher was 16 when she attended the Chicago Women’s March last year.
On Saturday, Gallagher boarded a Metra train with her mom near their Wilmette home, and once again be part of the movement at this year’s rally.
The teen got up early to make a sign and wore pink leggings and a white T-shirt with black lettering that read: “Product of a strong female.”
“I’m about to go to college and enter the workforce, and so issues like the #MeToo campaign and women’s rights are especially important to me,” Gallagher said.
The Chicago-bound train Saturday morning was filled with mostly women who wore pink hats and scarves, and men and children, who like Gallagher, want to give President Donald Trump and his administration a resounding message of resistance.
“I am not a fan of what’s going on in our politics,” said Lynne Grenier, of Lake Bluff.
Wearing a pink hat with #Persisterhood written in black and white, Grenier said she was attending the march to support those, be it women or progressive-thinking men, who are political candidates and are going to work to right the wrongs of the Trump policies, which she called divisive and discriminatory.
Traveling with women from a group called Indivisible Women’s Action Network, Lake Bluff resident Cindy Broten said they were going to the march to show politicians what unity looks like.
“Working together is not what we’re seeing in our government,” Broten said.
The group formed after last year’s Chicago Women’s March, which drew an estimated 250,000 people. This year’s event, also held in Grant Park in downtown Chicago, had either matched or surpassed last year’s totals, accordign to march organizers.
Before Trump was elected, Broten had never felt the need to be active, but now she said, she’s energized.
“My mantra for the year is hope,” Broten said.
Lake Bluff resident Karen Curtiss said when she was leaving her home to go to the train station she heard “The Star-Spangled Banner” blaring from the Naval Station Great Lakes and it felt like a sign.
“We’re doers, not complainers. This is about transforming that anxiety and disappointment in our government into positive action,” Curtiss said.
Husband and wife Steve Chamberlin and Cathy Colton, who boarded the train in Waukegan with friends LaToya and Alice Howell, said they both teach at the College of Lake County.
Colton teaches English and has many students who are “Dreamers,” brought to the U.S. from other countries as children. She said it’s important to her to stand up for people’s rights.
“Donald Trump does not represent the majority,” Colton said.
A chemistry instructor and a “believer of science,” Chamberlin had with him the pink hat made to look like a brain that his sister knitted for him when he attended the March for Science last year.
Chamberlin said Trump was a disgrace to this country and he should “apologize and resign.”
The night before the march, Libertyville resident Mary Edly-Allen made signage with her Indivisible Lake County group of friends. They were all excited to see the turnout in Chicago, she said.
“It can be discouraging when you watch the news and see that things are moving in the wrong direction,” Edly-Allen said.
Attending the Chicago Women’s March, she expects, will further empower the group and give them hope.
Last year, being surrounded by so many like-minded people at the march provided a goal for the group to reach out to more people and unite them, Edly-Allen said.
This year, the focus is on making sure those people march to the polls in November.
Edly-Allen said, “Where the change is really going to happen is in the voting booth.”
Yadira Sanchez Olson is a freelance reporter for the News-Sun.