News and analysis
January 22, 2017

Movie Stars Join Nonprofit Leaders to Urge Protesters to Join Nonprofits

Mark Abramson for The Chronicle

Nonprofit leaders and supporters had a strong presence at Saturday's Women's March on Washington, estimated to be one of the largest demonstrations in the history of the capital.

Activist and filmmaker Michael Moore had a clear message for protesters at the Women’s March on Washington: Join a nonprofit.

Mr. Moore, who said he had donated to Planned Parenthood in the past and helped with its fundraising efforts, told the crowd it was only Saturday morning that he became a member of the health-care charity. He encouraged the crowd to join other organizations, too, such as the American Civil Liberties Union and environmental-protection nonprofits, to combat anticipated policy changes from the Trump administration.

"Join every group," Mr. Moore said. "Let’s make these groups huge."

Actress Scarlett Johansson issued a similar call to volunteer with organizations that defend human rights.

Many nonprofits were represented at Saturday’s protest, estimated to be one of the largest demonstrations in the history of Washington, D.C. Staff members and volunteers from organizations including Glaad, YWCA, and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America were among the estimated 500,000 women and men who gathered in the nation’s capital the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration.

The lengthy lineup of speakers included a number of prominent nonprofit leaders. Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, addressed the crowd. The organization was the major financial sponsor of the event.

Leaders from the NAACP, Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice also spoke, urging the crowd to commit to fighting for each of their causes beyond today’s demonstration.

"The unfair treatment of any single one of us hurts all of us," said MomsRising chief executive Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner.

Getting Ready

By 8:30 a.m., several staff members and supporters of Oxfam America had assembled in a park a few blocks from the march rally site to distribute knitted hats and green signs ahead of the event.

“The unfair treatment of any single one of us hurts all of us.”
Elizabeth Becker, a board member for the charity’s political-advocacy arm, said she thought it was important to march with Oxfam's delegation to express her commitment to both the cause — human rights — and the organization itself.

"I’m here on the pavement and not just at a board meeting," she said.

Elsewhere in the park, demonstrators held signs given out by nonprofits including Naral and the ACLU. A delegation that had traveled from Michigan gathered nearby. They included Senator Debbie Stabenow and Representative Debbie Dingell, both Michigan Democrats, who donned pink Planned Parenthood scarves to express their concern that a new administration could remove the group’s federal funding.

During the rally, Melanie Austin, who traveled from Pennsylvania to attend the event, said she had been planning to march as an individual. Instead, she decided to represent Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, dressing in its red and white colors to draw attention to its message of keeping weapons out of the hands of domestic abusers.

"It’s amazing to be with like-minded people when it feels so hopeless," she said.

 

 

A video posted by Eden Stiffman (@estiffman) on

Oxfam America staff members assembled in a park a few blocks from the march rally site to distribute green signs and knitted hats ahead of the event. Here, Nancy Delaney, the charity's associate director of community engagement, delivers a pep talk to the delegation.Oxfam America staff members assembled in a park a few blocks from the march rally site to distribute green signs and knitted hats ahead of the event. Here, Nancy Delaney, the charity's associate director of community engagement, delivers a pep talk to the delegation.