CHICAGO (CBS) — A large crowd gathered downtown Saturday morning for Chicago’s “March for Science.”
The day kicked off with a rally in Grant Park, filled with speeches from several prominent Chicago-land scientists. Shortly after, participants marched down Columbus Drive to the Field Museum, where more than 50 science-related non-profits and research groups were stationed for a three-hour expo.
The museum was symbolically selected as the end point because its campus is a part of Chicago that works to preserve and share science.
Organizers say they were motivated by President Trump’s policies toward climate change and suspicions on vaccine safety.
Furthermore, those that marched are against Trump’s latest budget proposal, which would cut $12.6 billion from the Department of Heath and Human Services, including $5.8 billion from the National Institutes of Health.
From climate change to concerns about research funding, biochemist Dr. George Carman said he wanted his voice to be heard.
“My area of research is fat metabolism. So we want to understand the underpinnings of diseases like obesity and diabetes and heart disease, and so we need research funding to pursue those studies,” Dr. Carman said.
Chicago joins the more than 600 worldwide demonstrations that aim to defend scientific work from attacks such as U.S. government budget cuts.
“In the last few months, a lot of the scientific community has felt like they maybe do need to start taking a stand. Science has always strived to remain non-political, non-partisan — and we’re still striving for that,” said Liz Homsey, a co-organizer. “Every single scientist at this event feels that it is much more pro science than anti anything.”
Saturday’s march purposely coincides with Earth Day, which, organizers say, combines several environmental events in the city.
President Trump has not publicly responded to Saturday’s rallies. He did, however, tweet this message:
Chicago Police estimated around 40,000 people participated. At one point, they even pleaded with the public to stay home as opposed to joining the rally late.