Government & Politics

Kansans joined thousands of marchers in nation’s capital to protest Trump

Jerusha Lofland, right, and her daughter, Melissa, came to the Capitol on a chartered bus from Wichita to participate in Saturday’s Women’s March following Friday’s inauguration of Donald Trump as president.
Jerusha Lofland, right, and her daughter, Melissa, came to the Capitol on a chartered bus from Wichita to participate in Saturday’s Women’s March following Friday’s inauguration of Donald Trump as president. McClatchy

Editor's note: Earlier versions of this story incorrectly identified Jerusha Lofland and her daughter, Chris.

On Friday, the Kansans who came to Capitol Hill to support Donald Trump got to witness his inauguration. On Saturday, other Kansans gathered in the same place to protest him on another cool, gray January day.

In November, Kansas voters chose Trump over Democrat Hillary Clinton 56 percent to 36 percent. Those who marched among hundreds of thousands of others on Saturday, many wearing pink hats and carrying signs, were clearly not in the first category.

People gathered at the Keeper of the Plains in downtown Wichita to take part in the Women's March. Similar marches were held across the globe, with an estimated 500,000 turning out for a similar event in Washington, D.C. (Jan. 21, 2017)

“To those who voted for Donald Trump, I just say ‘why?’” said Jerusha Lofland, president of the National Organization for Women’s Wichita chapter.

Lofland and her daughter, Chris, a student at Northeast Magnet High School, rode a charter bus with 50 others from Kansas to Washington.

As they got ready to head home Saturday evening, Lofland said she’d come to Washington thinking about the future more than the past.

“I think going back to Wichita, I’ll just feel like part of a much larger movement of women taking charge and standing up for our rights,” she said.

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Other Kansans participated in Saturday’s march for much the same reasons. They don’t like Trump’s statements about women.

“I find what he stands for and how he behaves really offensive,” said Mary Linn, who now works in Washington for the Smithsonian but attended Wichita East High School, Wichita State University and the University of Kansas.

Linn, who took a break while a sea of marchers streamed past the Washington Monument and the new National Museum of African American History and Culture, said she hadn’t met any Trump supporters from Kansas who had come to watch the inauguration.

“I would ask them to really think about how he behaves and whether they can really stand behind his words and his actions,” she said. “I don’t think I would be very verbally aggressive to them, but I’m disappointed at the same time.”

Lofland, who has two daughters and six sisters, said she didn’t want to see a return to the past after a campaign in which Trump appealed to nostalgia for an America of the 1950s.

“I want my daughter to have more chances than I had, more chances than their grandmothers had,” she said. “I think we need to support women. They need all the resources they can to get them there.”

And, Lofland said, it “felt really good” to have the support of so many men.

“I’ve never been with this large a group before,” she said. “It felt very safe. We were all supporting the same values system.”

A Washington, D.C. official says the estimated turnout for the Women's March in the city now stands at a half a million. It is about double the amount of people who showed up to President Donald Trump's inauguration.

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