PORTLAND, Maine — Still energized from last week, local women’s march organizers are working to channel the enthusiasm of what has been called the largest day of protests in U.S. history.

“We need to show up and continue to fight for the things we believe in,“ said Maine’s national chapter chair Genevieve Morgan of Portland, who helped shepherd 5,000 people, from teenagers to 87 year olds, from across the state to the Women’s March on Washington the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Now, Morgan is organizing a new group called Maine March: Rise to harness the energy of the marches — and what’s leftover from the $25,000 the group raised to help take people to Washington, D.C. — to advocate for progressive causes that they feel are endangered by a Trump White House.

She’s planning a forum for marchers to meet and plan the next steps. After that, the group will likely home in on the midterm elections — specifically trying to unseat U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, the Republican who represents the 2nd Congressional District that went to Trump in the November 2016 election. They also are paying attention to potential gubernatorial candidates, she said.

“In the same way that white, angry, male, Christian voters were feeling, now it’s time for the politicians to pay attention to some of the angry women,” Morgan said.

It’s part of a push to keep the momentum of the protests, where millions marched across the country — including between 25,000 to 30,000 Mainers.

“We have now evidenced a great energy from a powerful group of people that maybe weren’t so loud before,” said Morgan, who is signing up 60 to 70 new people per day to join the group. “Through this new community they are now feeling inspired.”

Since the marches, Trump has moved to repeal the Affordable Care Act and reinstated a policy to bar funding to foreign nonprofits that perform abortions or offer counseling on it.

The original mission of the march was to protect women’s reproductive rights, health care and equal pay for equal work. But the group may broaden that to advocate for other causes that could be threatened by Trump.

“Women’s rights and civil rights are intersecting,” Morgan said.

Acting as a liaison with the national Women’s March on Washington, Morgan said she can connect with groups in other states, while sharing Maine initiatives. Through conference calls with sister volunteers across the states, Morgan can help coordinate a greater ripple effect than if each group were operating independently.

“We are perfectly poised as an amplifier and connector to bring state and local issues and candidates to national attention,” said Morgan. “The ludicrous froth from Washington gives us something to push against. It fuels us.”

Meanwhile, in Augusta, where 10,000 people rallied last weekend, organizers are regrouping to see where they can go from here.

“We want to be a conduit,” said coordinator Ariel Linet. “There are so many issues that people care about. We want to help people tap into what they are passionate about to be the most effective.”

With issue fatigue piling up as Trump signs a blizzard of executive orders, organizers are cautious to take on too much at once.

“What I fear most is Trump will issue some edict and people will react. Right now it’s going to be immigration. But the health care dialogue is still happening, Jeff Sessions is still happening,” said Morgan. “We are in it for the long haul and are marshalling our energies.”

Joining the new national campaign of completing 10 actions for the first 100 days, marchers are gathering Sunday at the Pickwick Independent Press in Portland to write postcards to local legislators. The idea is to keep the pressure on.

“One thing we know for sure,” Linet said. “This is not the end.”

Kathleen Pierce

A lifelong journalist with a deep curiosity for what's next. Interested in food, culture, trends and the thrill of a good scoop. BDN features reporter based in Portland since 2013.