Former congressional candidate Lindy Li jokes that she’s no bra-burning feminist. But when she speaks at a women’s march in Philadelphia scheduled a day after President-elect Donald Trump is sworn in, her focus will be squarely on the story of American women and their continuing struggle for equality.
“I also happen to be an immigrant,” Li, 26, told NBC News. “That word has become so ugly this year, and it breaks my heart. I just want to show America that immigrants come here to work hard and contribute to the community and the economy.”
Li, who ran for Congress in Pennsylvania last year and withdrew after an opponent's court challenge, said she’ll be one of the speakers at the Jan. 21 Women’s March on Philadelphia, with sister rallies slated in more than 150 cities around the world.
The main march will take place in Washington, D.C. A Facebook page for the event shows at least 179,000 supporters planning to attend.
Organizers are using the platform to fight for women’s equality and call awareness to issues like equal pay and a woman’s right to make choices about her own body, according to the group’s Facebook page.
The Philadelphia event so far has between 40,000 and 50,000 attendees pledging to go, Li said.
Trump’s lewd comments toward women, Li said, have contributed a sense of heightened urgency to the discussion on women’s issues. As an immigrant who came from China when she was 5, Li said the story of immigrants and their contributions to America are also part of this narrative.
“People who just think it doesn’t impact them — it does,” she said. “We’re all in this together. We’re all in the same boat.”
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are among those worried that Trump will undo President Barack Obama’s executive action allowing children of undocumented immigrants to defer deportation and remain in the country.
Many also fret over whether Trump will ban Muslims from entering the U.S., a stance he took on the campaign trail that he has since called "extreme vetting."
“If I were in the same room as the president-elect, I don’t even know where I would begin,” Li said.
While some blocs of women voters favored Trump over Hillary Clinton in November’s election, the former Democratic nominee still captured women’s vote by more than a 10-point margin, according to an NBC News exit poll.
Li, a Democrat, said she is not a partisan and emphasized the importance of the march for all Americans.
“I think when women succeed, the entire society succeeds,” she said.