Women March to the Polls

Kallie Cox, Staff Writer

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SPRINGFIELD More than 500 people rallied at the Illinois State Capitol, marching downtown on Saturday, Jan. 20, in the spirit of the Women’s March that took place last year.

“I am fed up with what is going on in this country,” said rally participant Nancy B., a middle-aged woman who had just moved to Springfield.

The mantra for this year’s march was, “Last year, we marched. This year, we run to the polls!”

The original march focused on renewing interest in feminism and showing that it is still an important movement. Topics of importance last year were fighting for women’s reproductive rights, taking on the Trump administration, and keeping a spotlight on allegations of sexual misconduct against Donald Trump.

Last year for the Women’s March, millions of people gathered in cities all across the country to protest as one. It was one of the largest marches in US history.

A year later, millions of protesters took to the streets once again for the anniversary of the historic march.

 This year’s rallies were focused on encouraging women to run for political office and to push more women to vote. They also took on issues with the dream act and a balanced budget.

“We must keep resisting every day,” said State Comptroller Susana Mendoza, the Democratic keynote speaker.

Among the protesters, many wielded signs that discussed immigration, the “Me Too” movement, racism, reproductive freedom, acceptance of the LGBT+ community, Planned Parenthood, female officials running for office, justice for transgender youth who have been murdered, DACA, and dozens of signs calling out the president.

Keith J., a 14-year-old boy, said, “The people who can’t defend themselves need help to defend their rights.”

Mirroring his comments, Kaitlyn Hoskins-Orr said, “There is a need to fight for the injustice of others who cannot fight for themselves, and to make a better place for future generations.”

During the rally portion of the event, many activists and politicians addressed the people on issues such as policy change and hate crimes.

Jonna Cooley, executive director of the Phoenix Center, said, “Hate crimes are on the rise. Last year, 28 transgender women were killed in this country. It’s only January 20th  and already four transgendered women have been murdered in this country this year.”

After the rally, the group marched down Adams Street to the Old State Capitol where the demonstration ended.

 

Kallie Cox can be reached at [email protected].

 

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