Meet Mothers, Daughters and Grandmothers Marching Together in Washington, DC

Lori Feehan(WASHINGTON) --  Among the hundreds of thousands of women expected to descend upon the nation's capital Saturday morning for the Women's March on Washington are public figures hailing from the worlds of entertainment, politics and activism.

But one category of participants will be families taking to the streets together: Multiple generations of women walking hand-in-hand for a common goal.

And that goal, according to the march's statement of its mission and principles, is to "send a bold message" that women's rights are human rights and more broadly to unify movements working for a variety of causes, including reproductive rights, environmental protection, the end of police brutality, and for greater rights for LGBT individuals, immigrants, minorities, workers and the disabled.

ABC News spoke to seven families who plan to attend the march.

Raised by generations of strong women before them, the women say they want to continue the standard of activism set by their relatives.

These are the stories of the mothers, daughters and grandmothers who will be marching together:

Lori Feehan, 63, and Pamela Zakielarz, 30: Marching to Continue Social Progress

Lori Feehan, a retired pharmaceutical executive from Charleston, South Carolina, grew up in the early 1970s when "things were very different" for women's rights and other social issues, she told ABC News.

"Reproductive choice was really hard to come by," she said. "There was no real birth control that was reliable. Abortions were coat hangers. Women's careers were limited. There was no tolerance for gay people or anyone who was different."

She continues, "It was a completely different time. Knowing where we are and how far we've come, I don't want to see us roll back."

Feehan admitted that she takes for granted what she says are "the improvements that we've made in society," but said she's "scared for that now."

 Feehan's daughter Pamela Zakielarz, a high school counselor in Havertown, Pennsylvania, said her mother is her role model, having watched her work her way up to a high-level leadership role in corporate America in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, when the corporate world was largely dominated by men.

"She helped pave the way for me and my sister and women across America to be treated as leaders and as equals," Zakielarz said.

Zakielarz said she would like to facilitate a "platform for strong, powerful, meaningful voices for the rights of women ... I want to keep making progress. I want to keep moving forward. I'm really concerned. Why would we want to go backwards? So many women and some men had to sacrifice to get us to the place that we are."

Her mother said she thinks some people may have have grown complacent.

"I feel that in recent years a lot of us have sat back and just assumed that things would keep going forward, and that we can relax," she said. "We can't."

Cecily Helgessen, 49, and Scarlett Helgessen, 10: Marching to Continue the Family Tradition of Activism

For Cecily Helgessen, the granddaughter of Polish immigrants, activism runs in her blood.

"Marching with my daughter will be a wonderful extension of the women I was raised by," the Manhattan-based nurse practitioner told ABC News.

Helgessen's grandmother and namesake, "the original Cecily Helgessen," was a young teen when women were given the right to vote in 1920, and was "very active in the league for women voters," Helgessen said.

 Her mother, Stephanie Helgessen, marched alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma, Alabama, and to this day, she continues to search for a familiar face whenever she comes across historical photos from that 1965 day.

"It's meant so much for me to have that as my dialogue and as my standard for how I live and the lens that I see the rest of the world through," she said.

Helgessen said she hopes the march will help teach her 10-year-old daughter Scarlett Helgessen, "how to have a voice and how to be an activist."

"She is coming of age, where gender identity and professional and personal development [are] taking a huge part of her life," Helgessen said, adding that when they're marching, she wants "her to know that she is part of a huge village of women."

 Scarlett told ABC News that she's "super excited" to be joining her mother in the march.

The "first thing" she's going to do when she gets there is to "talk to other people," she said.

"What's the point of going to D.C. if you don't meet any other people or talk to them about why they're there and why they came to march?" Scarlett asked.

For Scarlett, the opportunities for her future are endless. When asked what she'd like to be when she grows up, she toggled among a lawyer, softball player -- and president.

Gerri Ard, 74, Amy Ard, 43, Marian Waller, 9, and Joseph Waller, 7: Marching to Reinforce Their Values

Amy Ard, a 43-year-old doula from Silver Spring, Maryland, said that her mother taught her to be kind, compassionate and consideration and she wants to pass those values on to her kids.

"In this atmosphere, we value kind words to one another and respecting people," as well as "justice and equality," she said.

Immigration is one of the issues closest to Amy's heart.

"I care about the kids who go to school with my kids, who are afraid of being deported," she said. "I hope the people who don't look like my family know they have allies."

 Amy's mother Gerri Ard, a retired public school teacher, was living in Atlanta at the height of the civil rights movement in the 1960s.

"I've been in Atlanta for a long time, and civil rights has been part of my life for as long as I can remember," she said.

Chimed in Amy, "For a lot of my mom's friends in the South, this is a familiar feeling."

Gerri will be putting on her marching shoes for the first time since the civil rights movement, and she's thrilled to do so alongside her daughter and grandchildren, Marian and Joseph, this time around.

"I just think that it will be a very special thing for the four of us to do this together," Gerri said.

Sarah Towne, 31; Laura Towne, 58; Isaac Towne, 4; Margaret Hardy, 1: Marching for Future Americans

Laura Towne, a 58-year-old writer who lives in Fuquay Varina, a small town just south of Raleigh, North Carolina, has never marched before, she told ABC News. While she describes herself as "not very vocal," she said the aftermath of the election made her want to do more than just sit back.

Laura is marching with her daughter, a 31-year-old Ph.D. candidate in public administration and policy at American University in Washington D.C., and her grandchildren, 4-year-old Isaac Towne and 1-year-old Margaret Hardy.

"That's one of the main reasons why I'm going," she said. "...My grandchildren are our future. I wanted to be able to tell them when they grow up, 'Look, you were in this event. You were in this march to unite people and support America.' It's very American to be able to do this."

 For Sarah Towne, the march isn't just able women's issues, but for "all issues and all people with a variety of opinions and diverse backgrounds," she told ABC News.

Although her children are young, Sarah said she never thought twice about bringing them to the historic march.

"Even though they're 4 and 1 and won't understand it, I hope they'll get it when they're older," she said. "I hope they can look back on the moment and say, 'I was there. I was there with my family.'"

Rachel Greenburg, 28 and Michele Greenburg, 59: Marching for the Disenfranchised

For Michele Greenburg, a forensic social worker from Larchmont, New York, deciding to attend the march was easy: All she needed was a tiny push from her daughter, Rachel Greenburg, a social worker for a Manhattan-based nonprofit called Cities of Service.

As a teenager, Michele marched for women's rights in the 1970s, but the movement did not resonate with her as much back then, she told ABC News. She said she took Roe v. Wade, for granted, and she assumed "the best of people" when it comes to social justice and immigration issues. But, the results of the 2016 presidential election sparked a sense of civic duty in her.

"Especially since I work with the disenfranchised and people who don't have access to different things for their own rights, with this election, it just galvanized me to say 'You can't just sit back and hope that someone else will do this anymore,'" she said.

 For Rachel, her privileged background is what led her to choose a career as a social worker, she told ABC News.

"I was born into an upper-class family," she said. "It was important for me to see the intersectionality -- race combined with gender combined with class."

Rachel said it "scared" her to see "our country turn so backward and to see so many people' rights in jeopardy." She feels an "immense amount of pride" to march with her mother, she said.

"We're both trained social workers, and our code of ethics is to fight for others [who] may not be given the same voice," she said.

Sharon Krauss, 63, and Halina Cain, 18: Marching for a Female Empowerment

Sharon Krauss, a public defender in Los Angeles, is traveling across the country with her daughter, Halina Cain, because she was "inspired" by the election, she told ABC News.

On Election Day, all the women in Krauss' office wore pantsuits as they high-fived each other and took "a thousand" pictures. "There was so much hope" that a woman would be elected to the White House, she said.

When President-elect Donald Trump shocked the country with his presidential victory, Krauss said, "I kept thinking, this country just told my daughter she can never be president."

 Cain, who recently just turned 18, was unable to cast a ballot that day and expressed to her mother that she was "very unhappy," Krauss said.

When the mother and daughter heard about the march, they "immediately" began checking flights to Washington, D.C., watching the seat availability quickly disappear with each passing day.

"As a mother, you want to teach your daughter -- you want to tell her there [are] no barriers," Krauss said. "You want to tell her she can do anything and that she can reach for the stars."

"I feel that maybe she will believe that if she goes there and sees 200,000 other women marching," Krauss said.

Krauss said it will be "thrilling" to be alongside her daughter while she stands up for "something she believes in."

"She was disappointed in not being able to share her voice at the ballot box, but she's certainly going to be sharing it on Saturday," Kraus said. "I can't even imagine how amazing that's going to feel."

Ellen Shrader, 56, Amelia Combs, 28, and Malia Combs, 6: Marching to Be a Part of History

For Amelia Combs, a stay-at-home mom in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, attending the Women's March on Washington is "kind of like coming full circle," she told ABC News. Her grandparents, active in the civil rights movement, marched on Washington in 1963, she said.

"I come from a line of people coming from the civil rights movement," she said. "It's incredible to me to be able to bring my bi-racial daughter [Malia] to a march that will be just as important in history."

Malia Combs, 6, was born to a white mother and black father. She has cerebral palsy and has started to "question her herself and her abilities, her differences, her disability and how that affects her," Combs said.

"It's about ... letting my daughter feel like she is part of something that is bigger than herself," Amelia Combs said. "I wanted her to come see that it doesn't matter what we look like, how we sound, how we walk, how we talk. We are all important. Our voices all matter, and we need to be heard."

Ellen Shrader, a retired labor and delivery nurse, was only two-years-old at the time of the momentous 1963 march and didn't attend with her parents, she told ABC News. She hopes her granddaughter can "carry on the torch" of activism in the family.

"I thought it would be a nice legacy to be able to take my daughter and my granddaughter because, I thought that when I'm long gone, she will remember this."

 Shrader said that her grandchildren inspired her take a larger part in activism.

"It's really amazing when you have a 6-year-old in your life, because they're so full of questions -- about everything, she said. "And I just tell her, 'Look what women can do. Look what it means to support one another, and even support people you don't know."

Shrader said she was hoping Clinton would win the election so Malia could have "a female president she could connect with."

"She's only known a black president who looks like her," Shrader said. She said she wanted that sense of connection to continue with America's 45th president.

Malia told ABC News that she's "most excited" about "being a part of history" and sharing that moment with her family.

 This trip is Malia's first to the Washington. On Saturday, Malia will be wearing a T-shirt that says, "I'm not strong for a girl. I'm just strong," she said.

And because nothing says a strong girl can't be fashionable as well, Malia will be pairing her special T-shirt with her "very comfortable" fuzzy black shoes.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Check Also

Georgia police officer shot, killed while responding to report of suspicious vehicle

iStock/Thinkstock(SNELLVILLE, Ga.) -- A police officer was shot and killed near a school in Georgia after responding to a report of a suspicious vehicle, authorities said.Antwan Toney and another officer approached a vehicle near the Shiloh Middle Scho...