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Democratic activists push for the polls with third Chicago Women’s March

Democratic allies gathered downtown Saturday for Chicago’s latest Women’s March, with organizers pushing for participants to help get out the vote ahead of next month’s midterm elections.

The Grant Park rally before the “Women’s March to the Polls” featured speeches from Jane Collective founder Heather Booth — the collective helped women in Chicago get abortion counseling — as well as University of Illinois at Chicago Prof. Barbara Ransby.

“I hope you are angry and energized enough to vote on Nov. 6, I hope you’re still angry and energized to come out and elect Chicago’s next mayor on Feb. 26,” Ransby said.

“And I hope you remain energized until Nov. 3, 2020, so that we can give Donald Trump an eviction notice and tell him to take his entire racist agenda and all of his corrupt cronies and get the hell out of Washington, D.C.”

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Organized as a nonprofit — and not specifically endorsing candidates — the group Women’s March Chicago is bankrolled by Democrats and Democratic supporters. Major donors include the Chicago Federation of Labor and Democratic governor candidate J.B. Pritzker’s campaign.

“We’re here to bring change for future generations,” Pilsen resident Frances Valez said. “The government just showed [with Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation] — again — that it sees women as ‘less than.’ We can’t take that.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton were beamed into the rally via pre-recorded messages, joining several musical acts in urging attendees to organize and vote.

In the “voter village,” people signed up to canvass for politicians running for office, and grabbed balloon caricatures of President Donald Trump depicted as a baby in a diaper, modeled after the giant float that was anchored in the heart of Grant Park.

The Donald Trump baby balloon was brought to Grant Park for the Women's March to the Polls. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

The Donald Trump baby balloon was brought to Grant Park for the Women’s March to the Polls. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Several thousand took part in Saturday’s march and rally, which was the third Women’s March through Chicago. It was a far cry from the roughly 250,000 who marched through the city shortly after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, and the estimated 300,000 participants in the second annual march in January.

The throng marched a half-mile west on Jackson to Federal Plaza, where participants were directed to early-voting sites.

Arlington Heights resident Ayah Jaber, 19, said she marched — and voted — because “the only way to create change is to rally and vote.”

“I think it’s true [that younger people don’t vote] and I try to advocate for voting and getting my friends to vote,” Jaber said. “It’s important to show what you believe in by getting involved in grassroots organizations. They have a big impact.”

At the polling place at 175 W. Washington St., Chicagoan Joann Williams said she already knew who she’d be voting for because there’d be a “D” next to their name.

“[I marched] because we need to vote them out,” Williams said. “I have a granddaughter, I’m a teacher. We have to make the world better — we can’t leave this to the kids.”


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