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Women’s March Chicago announces pair of events next year

The first march, slated for Jan. 18, is billed as an opportunity to “kick off a crucial election year” and raise awareness and encourage participation in next year’s Census.

Thousands rally in Grant Park before the start of the Women’s March to the Polls. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times
Thousands rally in Grant Park in October 2018 before the start of the Women’s March to the Polls.
Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times file photo

Woman’s March Chicago organizers announced two marches next year in Grant Park just days after the unaffiliated national Women’s March organization announced a major leadership shakeup amid a series of controversies.

The first march, slated for Jan. 18, is billed as an opportunity to “kick off a crucial election year” and encourage participation in next year’s Census, according to a news release. The other event, tentatively scheduled for mid-October, will include a rally and march “designed to fire up voters as they head to the polls and make their voices heard through their votes.”

“Marchers will have a chance to change the course of history as they head to the ballot box in what surely will be one of the most exciting elections of modern times,” the release says.

Fueled by concerns over the election of President Donald Trump, the Chicago Women’s March chapter and other similar groups held worldwide marches in January 2017 to rally for women’s rights, immigration reform, reproductive rights and other issues. The event in Chicago and two subsequent marches in the city all drew hundreds of thousands of activists.

In January, Women’s March Chicago organizers denied reports that they canceled plans for a third anniversary march, insisting they had already used their resources for a March to the Polls event in March. The group’s leaders instead helped organize smaller events on the march’s anniversary.

Meanwhile, the national Women’s March group has been mired in controversy.

Tamika Mallory, a co-founder of the group, faced backlash after attending the Nation of Islam’s annual Savior’s Day gathering last year in Chicago, during which Minister Louis Farrakhan made inflammatory statements about “powerful Jews” he considered enemies. Mallory later denounced the anti-Semitic comments but said she had been attending the annual event since childhood after she received help from the Nation of Islam when she was in need.

On Monday, the group announced that Mallory and other controversial co-founders Linda Sarsour and Bob Bland “will transition off of the Women’s March Board.”