By Shivani Gosai | Opinions Editor
On Jan. 21, 2017, almost 4,600,000 people in the United States and up to 5 million worldwide participated in a fight for women’s rights and equality for all. The Women’s March was an international movement after the inauguration of President Donald Trump designed to send a strong message of opposition to the new administration.
The march was a milestone for activism as it was the largest single-day protest in U.S. history. For women and other marginalized groups, however, our fight is not over. For the one year anniversary of their historic march, organizers have announced their next call for activism: “Power to the Polls.”
This year, the fight continues with more than 200 Women’s March events planned around the world for Saturday, Jan. 20 and a few more for Sunday, Jan. 21.
Pledging to march is committing to bring forth change. Participation in the movement is the first step to showing solidarity, and from there we can work on direct engagement with our local communities, and then internationally.
Today, our country still allows a man who sexually assaulted multiple women to hold office. We’ve dealt with continuous stories of sexual harassment allegations, from Hollywood to Olympic athletes, to major corporations such as Uber and Fox News. We march for the #MeToo stories and Time Magazine’s “silence breakers” as the Person of the Year for 2017.
We march for the people in Trump’s supposed “s***hole” countries.
We march because U.S. policies fail to recognize safe reproductive rights for women.
We’re marching for more lists like Forbes 2017 Fortune 500 list, which included 32 female CEOs — the most amount of women to ever appear in the rankings.
We march for young girls who can’t receive an education, and Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai’s continued work toward the cause.
We’re marching to end violence against women.
We march for those whose homes have been devastated by Hurricane Maria, and San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz who waded out into the aftermath to save her people.
This pledge to march is campaigning for women’s rights, immigration reform, healthcare reform, reproductive rights, environmental protection, LGBT rights, racial equality, freedom of religion and workers’ rights.
The main theme of this year’s march is to encourage voting and women running for office. A historic number of women have been engaging in politics this past year and it’s important to acknowledge and support their involvement so that it is continued for elections to come.
The Power to the Polls main event is taking place on Jan. 21 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Nevada was specifically selected due to its key role as a swing-state for upcoming Senate elections. Paired with its recent experience with gun violence, the state is ready for positive change fueled by passionate activism.
The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. as a kickoff for a national voter registration tour. The event will feature speeches by Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and Alicia Garza, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Women are planning thousands of marches worldwide in places such as Kenya, China, Germany, Norway, Mexico and Argentina.
The U.S. has hundreds of demonstrations planned around the country, with the largest being in Las Vegas, New York City and Washington, D.C.
The Pittsburgh Women’s March will be on Jan. 21st at 11:30 a.m. at the City-County Building on Grant Street.
More information on the marches can be found at www.powertothepolls.com
These marches show the importance of solidarity and community. The women’s march is not just for women. It’s for men and children, members of the LGBT community, for immigrants and anyone who wants the U.S. to become an equal home for all. We have a lot of work to do to advance inclusion, but with proper dialogue and non-violent mobilization this movement can continue to spark action worldwide.
So calling all feminists and activists, it’s time to make like Maxine Waters and reclaim our time.