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Women’s Marches

January 26, 2018

It has been a year since the Women’s Marches of 2017, but this past weekend proves that people have not forgotten the issues they marched against last January. Across the country, women, men, and children alike gathered to march for the equality and justice of all people.

The original Women’s Marches were held following the inauguration of President Trump. The turnout for these marches were high, with an estimated 4.2 million participants. The 2018 marches certainly still brought a crowd, but not to the same degree as a year ago. Last Saturday and Sunday, around 1.6 to 2.5 million people marched on the one year anniversary of the inauguration.

There was a strong emphasis on urging marchers to register and vote for candidates that would resist Trump and his administration in the future. In Las Vegas, the main message for the march was “Power to the Polls.” According to the official Women’s March website, the event intended to begin a national voter registration tour, which planned to “target swing states to register new voters, engage impacted communities, harness collective energy to advocate for policies and candidates that reflect their values, and collaborate with their partners to elect more women and progressives candidates to office.”

Among the millions of marchers, several celebrity voices could also be heard sharing their stories and joining in with protestors. Prominent stars like Alyssa Milano, Halsey, Scarlett Johannsen, Cher, and Viola Davis lent their support by giving speeches at various march locations.

Halsey, a pop musician, drew a crowd at the New York City march by sharing a personal poem, in which she speaks openly about her experience of abuse and violation. After seeing the reaction to her speech, the singer responded to those who reached out to her, tweeting, “I’m truly humbled and overwhelmed by the support I’ve gotten in the past day. I’m comforted and saddened by all who can relate. We are in this together.”

While marches that brought in hundreds of thousands of participants may seem distant to the Monmouth community, those in Western/Central Illinois did not have to look far to join the movement. The Quad Cities hosted a march on Saturday in Rock Island, which attracted over 300 attendees. Those in attendance marched from Schweibert Park to the Rock Island County Clerk’s Office.

In East Peoria, many gathered at Riverfront Park with the goal of encouraging voter registration, as well as campaigning and running for office. This march drew around 500 participants and featured speakers from the area that represented various organizations. These included representatives of the Black Justice Project, the Heart of Illinois branch of the National Organization for Women (NOW), and It Takes a Village Peoria, a program that provides free clothing, school supplies, and food to children.

With many in support of the Women’s March movement, there also came more critics of the events that took place. The 2017 Women’s Marches were accused of catering mainly to straight, white women, and were non-inclusive of several marginalized groups. The same criticism existed for the marches this past weekend, which resulted in some individuals choosing to skip the marches this year.

Whether for or against the Women’s Marches, the millions of women, men, and children that were marching did manage to catch the attention of President Trump, who tweeted encouraging women to “Get out there now to celebrate the historic milestones and unprecedented economic success and wealth creation that has taken place over the last 12 months.”

It could be concluded from the many creative signs and posters that marchers displayed over the weekend that participants of the Women’s Marches believe that there is still a far way to go before the march simply celebrates the successes and milestones of the past. As stated on the Women’s March official website, “The rise of the woman is the rise of the nation,” and this motto will likely carry activists through the rest of 2018.

Kaelin Sommer
News Editor

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