In Grant Park, tens of thousands gathered for a rally that grew so large that organizers had to halt the planned short march through the city’s downtown.
Unseasonably warm weather appeared to help bolster attendance.
The Chicago Transit Authority added extra cars to the city’s L train service to help transport the mass of people. Still, the trains were packed to the gills.
Organizers, who projected more than 50,000 demonstrators, said the crowd appeared to have swelled to 250,000. It was held on the same site that former President Barack Obama used for his 2008 Election Night victory party.
“Our march route is flooded. There is no safe way to march. We are just going to sing and dance and make our voices heard here,” rally and march co-chairwoman Ann Scholhmer told the crowd at Jackson and Columbus drives just before 11 a.m., according to the Chicago Tribune.
Still, thousands did march through the downtown streets.
Similar women’s marches are drawing huge crowds across the country, including the hallmark event in Washington, D.C., and others in Boston, New York City and Miami.
In Chicago, Kris Grady, 49, came with a group of friends from the nearby suburb of Western Springs. Grady, whose husband is disabled, said she is concerned about what Trump’s presidency will mean for health care for her husband and her two daughters. She said she couldn’t even stomach watching Trump’s inaugural speech.
Still, she said she’s hopeful the marches around the globe Saturday marked the rising of a powerful resistance against Trump.
“It’s tragic that we’ve made so much progress in accepting diversity and encouraging it,” Grady said of Trump’s election. “There may not be a linear shot to all we want to accomplish today, but it’s important that we make our voices heard. What this is about is that over time with our persistence and insistence and getting active at every level, I think this will make a difference.”
Selva Urzagaste, 26, an immigrant from Bolivia who moved to Chicago when she was a child, said the rise of Trump has felt like an assault on her identity.
She said she was demonstrating to speak up for herself and to show solidarity with others who are feeling marginalized by Trump’s rhetoric.
“Growing up, there was a stigma about speaking Spanish and not being from here,” said Urzagaste, who held a sign quoting the activist Malala “I am stronger than fear.” “You want to feel American for so long. And I finally reached a point where I felt good about myself — and feel like an American. Now I feel like, ‘Do I want to be part of all this hatred?
“Ultimately I do, ” she added. “Our generation is strong, and as long as we don’t forget how far we’ve come, we’ll get there.”