An estimated 200,000 people are expected to attend the Women’s March on Washington on Saturday to “send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office . . . that women’s rights are human rights.”

There are also more than 600 “sister marches” planned in cities across the United States and internationally. The idea of the march—which started as a Facebook post following Donald Trump’s victory in the election—has expanded beyond women’s rights to include immigrant, LGBTQ, environmental justice, and other groups.

Tricycle recently spoke with five Buddhists about their decision to march in the historic event.

Image from Women’s March | Facebook

Name: Jennifer Keishin Armstrong
Age: 42
Location: New York City
Occupation: Author

Where do you practice?
The Village Zendo

When did you first hear about the Women’s March and when did you decide to go?
I think I heard about it just days after the election, and I decided to go right away. It just seemed like the obvious thing to do.

What’s the main reason you’re marching? 
Even as a feminist who is up on women’s rights and how far we still have to go, I was devastated by what the election results said to me as a woman. An infinitely qualified woman lost to an unqualified man. This man openly brags about sexually assaulting women, and still we chose this man. Even though he lost the popular vote, [the results] should not have been this close. I want to make sure women’s voices are still heard in this new era, one way or another.

What’s one message you wish you could send to President Trump?
It makes me sad that I am so skeptical that any well-intentioned message to him would connect. But if it could, I would ask that he please be careful with the country we love and the freedoms so many have fought for.

Name: Ryan Acquaotta
Age: 29
Location: New York City
Occupation: Musician

Where do you practice?
The Village Zendo

When did you first hear about the Women’s March and when did you decide to go?
Information about the march came to me from many different channels and groups not too long after the election. My band was already scheduled to play in Maryland the night before, so as soon as I heard about the march I decided I would stay overnight in the area and go to the march in D.C. the following day.

What’s the main reason you’re marching?
It’s not often that members of my family, my friends, my band, my religious community, and fellow anti-racist activists are all attending the same march. I want to show up and show them all love and support and empowerment in this moment, because I’d like it to happen more often!

What’s one message you wish you could send to President Trump?
The organizers of this march have put a lot of effort into articulating a vision for women’s rights that we are all showing up in support of on Saturday. We demand that you use the power this nation is vesting in you to show up for that vision every single day that you are president.

Name: Jasmine Hollingsworth
Age: 37
Location: Baltimore
Occupation: Founder and director of Liver Mommas, a nonprofit organization

In what tradition do you practice?
I’ve tried a bit of Zen. My uncle is a professor of religious studies at University of Cincinnati and a Mahayana Buddhist. I’ve learned a lot from him. I think I prefer the Zen tradition overall, but I’m still exploring.

When did you first hear about the Women’s March and when did you decide to go?
I heard about it in December. Some friends of mine were going. I wanted to go right away, but I have a child with a life-threatening illness and things come up unexpectedly with her, so I had to wait until closer to the march to make plans.

What’s the main reason you’re marching? 
I’m marching against the hateful and exclusionary rhetoric that President Trump has fueled his campaign with, which I believe has been used as an excuse by many to commit acts of hate and violence. As a Buddhist, I feel it’s important to leverage my right to peacefully protest against these acts and the rhetoric that has incited them.

What’s one message you wish you could send to President Trump? 
All people deserve equal rights and respect as humans, regardless of gender, race, religion, who they love, their economic status, or where they live. Hateful and divisive speech is not OK.

Name: Trisha Turiano
Age: 54
Location: Glen Ridge, NJ
Occupation: Artist

In what tradition do you practice? 
Mahayana

When did you first hear about the Women’s March and when did you decide to go?
When I heard about the New York City march a few weeks ago, I thought about going but did not commit, as part of me felt it was disrespectful. When Trump continued his petty, childish behavior I felt I could no longer stay silent. I feel it is my patriotic duty to rally.

What’s the main reason you’re marching?
To show the incoming administration that there are many people who are deeply concerned about Trump’s administration and human rights issues, and that if need be we can quickly organize ourselves into action.

What’s one message you wish you could send to President Trump?
Although sadly I do not believe he is capable of doing this, I would ask him to consider incorporating compassion in his presidency and personal life. I do have to thank him, though, as he has given me many opportunities to exercise showing compassion in my own practice.

Name: Traven Fusho Rice
Age: 36
Location: New York City
Occupation: Publisher and Filmmaker

Where you practice? 
The Village Zendo

When did you first hear about the Women’s March and when did you decide to go?
I saw something about it on Facebook shortly after the election and immediately felt a burning desire to go.

What’s the main reason you’re marching?
I was disheartened by the tone and messaging that arose during this maelstrom of a presidential election. It felt to me like many women’s voices were disparaged. l believe that it’s time, yet again, to stand up for women’s rights, to demand to be treated equally and to support women in leadership positions in this country.

What’s one message you wish you could send to President Trump?
Words matter.

Learn more about the Women’s March

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