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Women's March Organizer: 'We Are Committed' To Fighting For Change


Over the weekend, millions of people marched in cities around the world. At the Women's March, people carried signs that talked about immigration, the environment, abortion and many other issues. Now one question is how organizers of the march plan to focus that energy.

Janaye Ingram was the head of logistics for the Women's March and joins us now. Welcome to the program.

JANAYE INGRAM: Thank you so much.

SHAPIRO: What do you envision for how you will use the energy of these millions of people around the world?

INGRAM: I think that's a great question. We have been encouraging women to march on. That's sort of been our slogan. But I think in order for us to actually achieve change, that will require us to ensure that we are talking to our elected officials, that we are advocating, that we are engaged civically in our communities. And I think all of that combined is really going to create a shift in what we've seen and what we know has been happening as it pertains to women's rights. And hopefully, as the saying goes, the future is female, and we'll see more rights achieved for women across the world.

SHAPIRO: I hear you talking about engagement but not necessarily about a specific issue. And with so many different issues on the table represented at these marches, do you fear that a lack of focus could dissipate some of this energy?

INGRAM: I don't think that a lack of focus will dissipate the energy. I think that there are a lot of issues for people to be passionate and concerned about. I think what we saw is a need to be intersectional in how we approach our advocacy. So it means that...

SHAPIRO: Intersectional meaning, black people advocate for LGBTQ people and...

INGRAM: Correct.

SHAPIRO: ...Immigrants advocate for women, et cetera.

INGRAM: Absolutely. Because together, if we're interwoven and interconnected in our fight for progress, it makes us stronger.

SHAPIRO: When you look at the protest movements of the last decade, from the Tea Party to the Occupy movement to Black Lives Matter, what lessons do you take away from those about what works and what doesn't work?

INGRAM: We, in some ways, are a leaderless movement because we have a whole group of women who had been leading this effort. But we've had to figure out what that structure looks like and how to make that work. I think that was sort of a lesson learned from the Occupy movement.

And I do think that this is different. We can't just say it's a cookie-cutter-type lessons that we can learn but really looking at - what is the reality of this political climate? And what is it that we are hearing from women about what they want to do and what they want to see changed and how we can make that happen?

SHAPIRO: What specifically is the next step?

INGRAM: Well, there are lots of next steps, and we encourage people to stay in touch with us. If they weren't able to come to the march, we definitely want them to be sure to check out our website because that's going to be the place where we continue to unfold all the various actions that we'll have from here on out.

SHAPIRO: But give us a preview. I mean, you've announced there'll be 10 actions in a hundred days. Specifically, what's the next step?

INGRAM: Well, I don't want to get out ahead of myself. And - since you've seen the website, you know that we have postcards that we are sending out to elected officials. And we're encouraging people to march on and to continue to advocate for whatever your issue is. Speak to your local elected officials. Speak to your state elected official, your governor as well as the president. We want people to connect and to advocate for themselves. We don't want to tell people what to do. We want people to find the issue that moves them the most and to do something about that issue in these next few days.

SHAPIRO: Ultimately, how will you measure whether this movement has been successful or not?

INGRAM: Well, I think it definitely is about engagement. I think we've clearly made history. And so that in and of itself, there's a place in the history books where this effort will be noted. But I think for all of us, we are committed to ensuring that that's just not the end of it - that there is some actual substantive change, that we move the ball for all of the people that we march for, whether it's our mothers, our grandmothers, our daughters, our sisters, our friends or the little girls that we don't even know yet. But we know we want to see a better future for them than the one that we're currently living in.

SHAPIRO: Janaye Ingram was head of logistics for the Women's March on Washington. Thanks for taking the time.

SHAPIRO: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.