Exactly one year after the first Women’s March took the US (and the world) by storm becoming an outlet for the vast pool of raw emotions millions of people felt after the 2016 Presidential election and symbolizing a collective commitment to resist the hateful and regressive policies of the incoming administration with relentless activism, the second Women’s March convened in cities across the country this weekend with renewed energy and a laser focus. As its name suggests, the 2018 March to the Polls was centered around the upcoming 2018 midterm elections. At the D.C. March, a series of speakers emphasized the significance of the upcoming elections and the surge in female candidates for office in national and local elections over the past year. The 2017 Democratic electoral wins were celebrated, as was the fact that a lot of them were accomplished and fueled by women and, more significantly, women of color. In that sense, the March was a reflection of the strides made by the Resistance over the past year. As Christina Cauterucci at Slate rightfully noted, in January 2017 people marched, and then they got to work by running for office, tackling head on the gaps in intersectionality in feminism and starting a massive social movement to address sexual assault, harassment and coercion (to name just a few examples).
The mood in the crowd today similarly reflected the determination of the resistance over the past year and the variety of issues that urgently need to be addressed by and within it. A kick-ass group of Black women were there to remind everyone that none of the Resistance strides would have been accomplished without their leadership and participation (something that should be abundantly clear, but that we sadly still need to be reminded of regularly). Issues ranging from the administration’s open racism, to women’s right to choose, to climate change were all addressed in the ever wittier signs. Consent, sexual assault and harassment were core topics on and off the stage. And active participation in politics via grassroots activism, running for office, and supporting female and minority political candidates was the overarching goal discussed by the speakers and participants alike. One sign next to me summarized this well: “My friends didn’t come this year – THEY ARE TOO BUSY RUNNING FOR PUBLIC OFFICE.”
Let’s all continue to harness that determination and march to the polls this November! And let’s do all we can to support female and liberal candidates across the country between now and then.
A few ideas for political activism in 2018 will be coming up on She Can Do It in the next week. For now, please register to vote by texting P2P to RTVOTE. And then enjoy a few of the inspiring signs from the 2018 DC Women’s March.