In Philly, Washington and worldwide, women to lift their voices

Fencing, porta potties and trash cans have been installed along the Ben Franklin Parkway from Logan Circle to Eakins Oval ahead of Saturday's women's march.

Angela “Nike” Sutton has a message for President Trump:

She’s a woman, and she’s not invisible.

She’s poor, and she’s not invisible.

She’s been disabled, shot and raped, and she’s not invisible.

She’s black -- not invisible.

She’s a mother and definitely not invisible.

And, she wants Trump to know, she’s a believer in hope.

Sutton, 41, of Northeast Philadelphia, said she wants to believe that if she speaks out, as she will Saturday at the Women’s March on Philadelphia, Trump “will see how intelligent we are."

“I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. People can change,” said Sutton, one of more than 40 speakers scheduled to speak at the rally at Eakins Oval.

Even as tens of thousands of people make their way to the nation’s capital for the Women’s March on Washington on Saturday, more than 33,000 are expected to participate in the day’s events on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Similar rallies are planned in Doylestown and Trenton, in all 50 states, and in many cities around the world, from Rio de Janeiro to Tokyo, from Cape Town to Nairobi, from Athens to London, plus many places in neighboring Mexico and Canada.

“All of us can help him understand,” Sutton, a mother of two, said Friday. “I don’t think he’s a friend of anyone who lives in poverty because he has made statements that we are lazy, we want a handout, that all we do is make children. If we speak out, he will see how intelligent we are. We are just living the life the cards have dealt us, and we are doing the best we can.

“I felt my pain had a purpose – to help me speak up against all types of abuse, to help people be free from the bondage of abuse, of it making you feel like you are less than human, making you feel like you are worth nothing,” she said. “If I can be an example of a survivor to show people that you can be free, that the sky is the limit, it’s all worth it -- every pain, ever tear, every heartache.”

Participants in the march can begin to assemble as early as 7 a.m. at Logan Square, with the march beginning at 20th Street and the Parkway and heading west to Eakins Oval, where the rally begins between 11:30 a.m. and noon. Whether the marchers will encounter any opposition is unknown. A spokeswoman from the mayor’s office said no other group had sought permits to appear at the march and rally.

Mayor Kenney is expected to speak. Other speakers will include politicians, pastors and activists. Nya Burnside, an eighth grader from John Barry Elementary School, will take the lectern, as will Saeda Clark Washington, a transgender activist. There will be survivors of gun violence and breast cancer.

Tracey Welson-Rossman, founder of Tech Girlz, an organization aimed at attracting more women to tech jobs and careers, has a message of economic empowerment. "The average salary of any woman who is working is $38,000,” she said. “In 2012, half of the households were run solely by women or women were the breadwinners. If women are making more money, isn’t that better for all of us?” she said Friday. “We don’t want those conversations to go backwards.”

Salima Suswell, diversity director of the Council for the Advancement of Muslim Professionals, also will speak. “I thought it was very important to have a Muslim voice,” she said Friday. “My message will be Barack Obama’s message, which is to remain hopeful. I think as a community we must stand in solidarity with all groups, the black, disabled, the community of women. We have to stand in solidarity, because the road ahead is unknown. I think prosperity comes from togetherness.”

Shepherding the march is Emily Cooper Morse, 33, of King of Prussia, who generally works in supply logistics for a Philadelphia chemical company. Mother of a 7-year-old daughter and twin boys, 5, she thought she’d tentatively see if anyone would be interested in organizing a sister march to the one in Washington.

Morse said she was surprised by how her tiny idea mushroomed into an event now expected to attract thousands, based on those registered online. “I’ve thrown some birthday parties in the past,” she said Friday, with a laugh. She expects Saturday’s relatively balmy weather to encourage more participants.

Morse said she thought it was important for women in the Philadelphia area to have their voices heard. And she’d like Trump to know that “we’re part of his constituency, and it’s his duty to hear our voices.”

Area streets will be closed during the event: The Parkway between 16th and 20th Streets including Logan Circle, 19th Street between Race and Vine Streets, and Race between 20th and Logan Circle will be closed from 6:55 a.m. until noon.

Other streets will be closed from 6:55 to 5 p.m., reopening as they are cleaned. They include the Parkway west of 20th, 21st, 22nd and 23rd Streets near the Parkway, Spring Garden Street between Pennsylvania Avenue and the Parkway, Kelly Drive outbound from the Parkway to Fairmount Avenue, Martin Luther King Jr. Drive between Eakins Oval and Sweetbriar Drive, and the Spring Garden Bridge at 31st Street.

There will be parking restrictions throughout the area and SEPTA bus routes 7,32, 33, 38, 43 and 48 will be detoured from the Parkway from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m.