- Associated Press - Saturday, January 21, 2017

CHICAGO (AP) - Dorothy DeCarlo burned her bra during college 50 years ago to fight for women’s rights. As she stood among a sea of people gathered for a women’s rally and march in downtown Chicago on Saturday, she carried a sign that stated: “I can’t believe I still have to protest this (expletive).”

“I thought we took the bruises. I thought it was over,” said DeCarlo, 69, of Chicago. “I never thought we would be in 2017 and even have to consider this.”

Chicago’s event was one of hundreds across Illinois and the U.S. aimed at sending a message to President Donald Trump that women will push back against policies or positions that violate their rights.

In Rockford, more than 1,000 men, women and children marched downtown, the Rockford Register Star reported. Many carried signs and chanted “Love trumps hate.”

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin helped rally a crowd outside the Old State Capitol in Springfield, urging them to get involved.

The Southern Illinois Women’s March drew nearly 1,000 people, some sporting hot pink hats, for a roughly 1-mile walk that started at the Carbondale Civic Center.

Carmalita Cahill, one of the chant leaders of the march, told The Southern Illinoisan she was taking a page from a lesson she taught her children.

“Don’t complain about something unless you are willing to do something to change it,” Cahill said. She added that while events like Saturday’s march are important, the goal is to harness people’s energy and “put it toward what we need to do here.”

In Chicago, the more than 300-acre Grant Park filled to capacity, with so many people spilling onto surrounding blocks for a pre-march rally that organizers canceled the march for safety reasons. But people flooded the streets after the rally concluded anyway, some unaware the march had been called off.

They moved slowly through the streets, voicing support for women’s and immigrant rights, Black Lives Matter, education and other causes.

Donna Martin, a pastry chef and consultant from Chicago, said she came out because “I wanted to show there are more of us than there are of them.” She carried a sign that said “There’s no sign big enough to list all the reasons I’m here.”

Martin, 42, said the large number of people at the event sent a clear message.

“It means we are powerful,” Martin said. “Everything’s going to be OK.”

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