Cherry Hill women prepare to make their voices heard at the Women’s March on Washington

Two Cherry Hill residents talk about why they are attending the Women’s March on Washington this Saturday.

On Saturday, thousands of women are expected to converge on Washington, D.C., for the Women’s March on Washington. The event is taking place one day following the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States.

The Women’s March on Washington was formed shortly after Trump won the presidential election in November. According to the march’s website, its mission is to “stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health and our families — recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.”

Donna Newtognano and Carole Roskoph are two Cherry Hill women who will be in Washington on Saturday for the event. For both of them, the march is more than just a demonstration. It’s about having a voice in a changing political world.

Newtognano went into the voting booth with her 15-month-old daughter on Election Day thinking there was no chance Trump would be president.

“I took her to the voting booth and told both of us, ‘this is awesome, we’re going to have the first female president,’” she said. “I saved her an ‘I Voted’ sticker. As the new president-elect became obvious later, I was disheartened so many people were willing to brush aside the comments and say, ‘Yeah, maybe he doesn’t say the right thing and do the right thing, but I trust him with our county.’ I have a problem thinking this is the person who’s going to lead our country and represent us.”

Newtognano said she’s never been a politically minded person and has never been up in arms over anything like this before, but felt so dejected after the election. She quickly found others online who felt the same way.

“Right after the election, there was this fast movement of the Pantsuit group on Facebook,” she said, a private group founded during the presidential campaign to support Hillary Clinton and her ideals. “Everyone started talking about it (The March on Washington) and I got so excited. I was so disheartened by everything that happened, and I became concerned with women’s rights and wanted to do something. It seems like a great opportunity to do something.”

Roskoph, a Cherry Hill councilwoman and teacher at Cherry Hill High School West, shared many of the same feelings as Newtognano.

“I was devastated,” Roskoph said. “I had not felt that kind of despair since 9/11. I watched up until about 1 a.m. the results come in. I was in disbelief.”

“For a few days after (the election), I was just devastated,” Roskoph added. “Then I just got pissed off. I was just angry.”

Roskoph also found out about the march on social media and immediately realized it was an event she wanted to attend.

“I didn’t have to think about it,” she said. “I didn’t have to plan for it. I saw it and said, ‘I’m going to this.’”

Though she is a Democrat, Roskoph said her feelings regarding Trump and the state of affairs goes beyond the issues and partisan politics.

“The real issue for me is that from the highest position in our country and the most powerful position in the world, he has legitimized this feeling of degradation for others who are different and made that OK,” she said.

“I’m a Democrat and I’ll always be a Democrat,” Roskoph added. “But Republicans that I know and love are respectful.”

Both Newtognano and Roskoph are looking forward to Saturday’s march. Newtognano said she is excited to be a part of an opportunity where thousands of women are there for the same reason and hopes everyone’s voices will be heard.

“I’m hoping that we are able to get the message across that we aren’t going down to lay down and accept women being treated less than anyone else,” she said. “That we’re not going back to a time when saying things in a negative connotation or sexually about women is an appropriate thing to do in any environment. We’ve come so far in the last 350 years. I would hate to go backward.”

Roskoph hopes others who participate in the march realize this is only one step in the process of trying to make change.

“That can’t be all that we can do,” Roskoph said about the march. “There has to be this momentum we keep up.”