Just hours after the Women’s March on Washington ended on Saturday, scientists began to discuss organizing a march of their own. Now that idea has rapidly begun to take shape, with the official Facebook group gathering hundreds of thousands of online adherents in just the past day and the #ScienceMarch hashtag trending on Twitter.
Prospective attendees and organizers have been coordinating on a closed Facebook group with over 220,000 members, along with conversations happening on Twitter and Reddit. According to a post in the group from Jonathan Berman, a University of Texas Health Science Center postdoctoral fellow, the march had attracted multiple sponsorship offers and nearly 2,500 volunteers. And the initiative already has its T-shirts on sale.
“Our motivation is pretty straightforward,” Dr. Caroline Weinberg, a science writer and public health researcher who is co-chairing the organizing group, said by email. “Scientists worldwide have been alarmed by the clear anti-science actions taken by the Trump administration. It has been less than a week and there have already been funding freezes and efforts to restrict scientists from communicating their findings (from tax-funded research!) with the public.”
A date has yet to be set for the march, but it’s expected to take place in the spring or summer, with a firm date perhaps to be announced next week. The main event will be in Washington, but discussions about marches in other cities are ongoing. The organizing committee plans to meet for the first time formally on Saturday, Weinberg said.
“This is not a partisan issue — people from all parts of the political spectrum should be alarmed by these efforts to deny scientific progress,” Weinberg said. “Scientific research moves us forward and we should not allow asinine policies to thwart it.”
Some notable non-scientists have expressed support for the march.
There is “definitely a chance” that Representative Don Beyer, who represents a district in northern Virginia, will attend, according to a staffer in the congressman’s office. Beyer is the ranking member of the Oversight Subcommittee to the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, and also sits on the Subcommittee on Federal Lands. “He loves science, he has a lot of friends who are scientists,” the staffer said, noting that many of the residents in the district are government employees.