Michael Horne
Plenty of Horne

Locals Join March on Washington

Megan Holbrook calls on locals to join Women's March on Washington.

By - Jan 19th, 2017 02:15 pm
Megan Holbrook. Photo by Michael Horne.

Megan Holbrook. Photo by Michael Horne.

The first full day of the Trump administration will find the District of Columbia populated by a yet-unknown number of women and men from around the country who will have assembled for a March on Washington Saturday, January 21st. Some forty of them will be on board a bus from Milwaukee at 6 a.m. Friday with Megan Holbrook, who organized one of the many trips to originate here after what she described as a “massive electoral night hangover” in an op-ed piece in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Like many women, I woke up on Nov. 9 with a massive electoral hangover, one that looks like it will last the next four years. Today, my aching head is still trying to wrap itself around how a president who clearly denigrates and assaults women, and who has no understanding of basic civil rights or how government functions, has been elected. I remain gut-wrenchingly sick that we have a Congress that appears hellbent on overturning all of the progress we’ve made in the past eight years.

My hangover remedy has been to take action. A day after the election, I founded The Next Four Years-Milwaukee to serve as a forum for people to share ways to get involved and influence our political process. We are now more than 4,000-members strong. Our first goal for TN4Y is to make our voices heard at the Women’s March on Washington.

“It was almost a knee-jerk response” to the result of the election, Holbrook told Urban Milwaukee in a telephone interview Wednesday. “I sent a message to 300 people election evening. I got 3,ooo responses overnight.”

Holbrook, a Harvard graduate and a Digital Strategist, used her Art History expertise to encourage a public art component to the march.

“From my perspective, art has always been on the forefront of protest movements,” she said. Holbrook established a curated committee to judge poster submissions for the march, with the mission of “creating an identity … and to keep the pressure on for the next four years.”

We Rise. By Niki Johnson and Christian Westphal.

We Rise. By Niki Johnson and Christian Westphal.

The jury recommended a poster by Niki Johnson and Christian Westphal. It shows a female torso with the United States Capitol building where the legs join the torso. That’s the genital area Donald Trump bragged about grabbing. The symbolism is compelling. “Tear Us Down, We Rise,” the poster reads.

The design was modified from “Hills and Valleys,” which showed a similar image Johnson constructed using signs from former Planned Parenthood clinics.

The posters have been offered for sale on Indiegogo, and have helped to finance the trip for the Milwaukee adventurers. A t-shirt line will soon be available.

Why Art?

Holbrook, with her degree in Art History, has a keen sense of the role of art in protest movements.

Artist Johnson is best known for her  portrait of Pope Benedict laboriously constructed out of colored condoms. It is in the collection of the Milwaukee Art Museum, having been donated by Joseph Pabst.

“Protest posters have given voice to individuals with views that have been silenced by oppression throughout history. Capable of provoking large numbers of people in dialogue, the messages contained within a protest poster influence the place in which it is seen until removed. The thoughts and conversations sparked by the poster create a catalyst to action,” she wrote on her Indiegogo appeal page.

Holbrook’s venture is one of many “spontaneous women’s groups,” as she put it, to emerge after Hawaiian grandmother Teresa Shook encouraged friends to march on Washington. But, with the notable posters in hand, hers might be among the most visible as this grassroots women’s movement makes its presence felt on the Washington Mall.

20 thoughts on “Plenty of Horne: Locals Join March on Washington”

  1. Jeff says:

    Kudos to Megan and everyone else involved, but this raises a question: Why has no march been organized in Milwaukee? Dozens of cities will have their own marches, including Chicago and Madison. Why not here?

  2. Virginia Small says:

    For those who can’t make the trip to the Women’s March in Washington, there are solidarity marches being held in Madison, Chicago and other major cities.

    Here’s info about the Madison event:


    If you act soon you may be able to pick up a “We Rise” poster (for $5) by the end of today.

  3. Virginia Small says:


    No specific Women’s March is planned in MKE but there will be a general protest in Red Arrow Park on Friday evening.


  4. AG says:

    I wonder if many of these same protesters would have marched if Clinton had won on account of her sexual assault victim shaming, intimidation of anyone who spoke up about the extramarital affairs of her husband, and other such moral crimes against women.

  5. Vincent Hanna says:

    Throw out some false equivalencies just to stir the pot. Clinton didn’t win so your hypothetical is pointless. Plus it’s ridiculous to assume that these women don’t care about victim shaming and intimidation due to the fact that they are participating in this march. Or you could ask them directly and see what they say.

    Also, women everywhere are so lucky to have you serving as Director of Moral Crimes Against Women. When do you release your official platform?

  6. Virginia says:

    Here’s background about the origins of the Women’s March on Washington. Concerns about reproductive rights and other issues affecting women are certainly not new (anyone remember Margaret Sanger’s fights?). However, they such concerns have been heightened by the rhetoric and policies of politicians who now control both the executive and legislative branches.


    The image in the poster had its genesis dating back several years when Walker and the GOP passed legislation causing Planned Parenthood branches to close throughout the state, thus denying access to affordable health care services for thousands. The original piece is a sculpture created with cut-up pieces of signs from shuttered Planned Parenthood clinics in Wisconsin.

  7. Begonia says:


    I was very concerned by the accusations against Hillary Clinton of, as you say, “sexual assault victim shaming, intimidation of anyone who spoke up about the extramarital affairs of her husband.”

    But I looked into the stories of Juanita Broddrick, Paula Jones, and Kathleen Wiley, and I really couldn’t find a definitive proof that Hillary knew about these right after they happened. I definitely didn’t see how she intimidated the women.

    I want to be clear that I am assume that all these women are telling the truth. There’s no question that Bill Clinton couldn’t control himself around women. But I didn’t see how that held any bearing on Hillary Clinton’s ability to be president.

    Heck, my husband has been unfaithful to me too. I would hope people don’t judge me for the fact that we stayed together, after I found out.

  8. Vincent Hanna says:

    It’s a false equivalency Begonia. Conservatives have been very fond of them since Trump became the nominee. Next AG will Mansplain birth control.

  9. Jeff says:

    Again, I’m amazed that local organizers dropped the ball and focused on OTHER cities, not Milwaukee. Virginia, since when is Milwaukee not a “major” city? The Riverwest march was small and, perhaps, hastily arranged, but the end result was worthy of Sheboygan, not Milwaukee.

    Sorry to carp on this aspect of a much larger issue, but there’s a certain defeatist “Oh, this is just Milwaukee” attitude that comes up again and again in this city. There should have been tens of thousands on Wisconsin Avenue Saturday. Disappointing.

  10. RAFE says:

    Gee Jeff, Maybe most Milwaukeeans are smart enough to know a non-issue when they see one.

  11. Virginia says:

    RAFE: I’m with Jeff on this one. If you think 2M to 3M people marching on behalf of women and what they care about is a non-issue, well bless your heart, as they say in the South.

    I agree that it’s disappointing that there was not a march down Wisconsin Avenue with tens of thousands. I had a wonderful time in Madison–and wish more people could have shared that type of energy here. I ran into, or knew of many Milwaukeeans who went to Madison, a couple who to Chicago and some to DC.

    It was a very inclusive event–and that included what seemed at least 20 percent men, and a whole lot of children. Even mud on the Capitol lawn did not kill the spirited mood. The best part was how many unique signs and such there were–and all those home-made pink “pussyhats.” I carried one of these posters, and was stopped many times for it to be photographed.

    One of my favorite signs was placed on Lady Forward in front of the Capitol. along with a hot-pink knitted pussyhat. It said “Feminism: Back by Popular Demand.”

  12. Vincent Hanna says:

    How many more people were at the DC march alone compared to the inauguration of a new president? And that’s a non-issue? Right.

  13. AG says:

    Begonia, Vincent is correct, your personal story of working things out with your husband is a false equivalency. Only if you had lead a team to discredit people who accused your husband of rape, or worked to “destroy” the “bimbo’s” he had relationships with, would it be the same. It’s very easy to get the background on her involvement, all the major news outlets covered the facts.

  14. Vincent Hanna says:

    3 million women marching is only legitimate if each and every one of them has publicly and vociferously denounced Hillary Clinton’s victim shaming. Just like all Trump voters are Klan-loving racists unless they publicly and vociferously denounced his racism.

  15. AG says:

    Vincent, your Trump supporter comment certainly does feel as if it’s true the way many talk. I didn’t even vote for Trump and I feel ashamed at how Trump voters are portrayed. You’re really on in this comment thread!

  16. Vincent Hanna says:

    So you are saying that you are as bad as the people who label all Trump voters racist because in your view the women’s march isn’t valid if all the women don’t denounce Clinton’s victim shaming? Thank you for owning up to that. I didn’t expect you to.

  17. AG says:

    So I guess you didn’t actually read my first comment… In that comment, I wondered the very thing you are talking about now. How many of the marchers denounce Hillary’s actions? I never once said I assumed all of them gave her a pass.

    So tell me how that makes me as bad as the people who label all Trump voters racist?

  18. Vincent Hanna says:

    Why does it matter? Do you also wonder how many Trump voters denounce his racism/sexism/xenophobia? Is the march only legit if the number of denouncements reaches a certain percentage?

  19. Just a note on the focus on marching in Madison vs Milwaukee. Our state representatives are at the Capitol in Madison, and that’s where state legislation that affects women takes place. The DC march focused on our Federal congressional representatives. The Milwaukee march was for people who couldn’t get to the other two but wanted to express their support. Hope this helps explain why Milwaukee was so small – it’s because Madison was so large, in the top ten across the country!

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