Women’s March focuses on electoral power, amplifying voices

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Activist Fawzia Mirza at a City Hall press conference Tuesday to preview the Women’s March Chicago, which will be held Saturday. The march is scheduled to kick off from Grant Park on Jan. 20 and is being held in concert with more than 300 others planned around the world. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

The day after last year’s Women’s March on Chicago, Jaquie Algee, one of the lead organizers, said she started planning for the 2018 march, pivoting from the anger and outrage of the 2016 election that catapulted the march last year, to action on issues important to women and families.

Held the day after Trump’s inauguration, the 2017 march in Chicago was one of many held around the world. Locally, the crowd of marchers, many wearing bright pink “pussyhats,” was so large that it spilled over the designated route on their way from Columbus and Congress to Federal Plaza. Marchers will take the same course this Saturday. The site at Columbus and Congress opens at 9 a.m., with the rally — featuring music and videos — following at 11 a.m.

They’ll take to the streets at noon. Fawzia Mirza, an activist and an emcee for Saturday’s march, said though the day is focused on women, all are encouraged to come out.

Days before the Jan. 20 march, Algee said, she and others are still focusing on turning their 2017 moment into a movement that focuses on electing more women and others sympathetic with issues important to them, including equal pay, access to healthcare and affordable child care.

“We’ve got more reason to do it again this year. It’s not just Donald Trump or other people like [failed Alabama U.S. Senate candidate] Roy Moore or others who are attacking women,” Algee said. “Women can stand and take a stance and speak out, speak loud. You’re not going to get away with this on our watch. We’re going to do this until it’s done. Time is up.”

Algee said this year’s march, which focuses on getting people to the polls, will support women considering candidacies and will show people are standing with them and supporting them, Algee said.

The goal is to get more people to vote and focus on the importance of voting and getting more women elected. Algee said last year around 1,200 women were running for various offices around the country. This year that number is around 20,000.

“It’s very important to know that this is the ‘Women’s March Chicago,’ but this is not just for women to show up,” Mirza said. “This is for everybody. This is for women, women-identifying people, gender non-conforming people, trans people, people of all colors, men, all races and all identities, all orientations and abilities. The point is, we are stronger together.”

The 2018 march in Chicago will follow the same route as last year’s march. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

The 2018 march in Chicago will follow the same route as last year’s march. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

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