Advocates are returning to the streets in the US a year after 1 million people rallied worldwide at marches for female empowerment, hoping to create an enduring political movement that would elect more women to government office.
Hundreds of gatherings were being planned for yesterday and today across the country.
A rally in Las Vegas is today to launch an effort to register 1 million voters and target swing states in this year’s US midterm elections.
Last year’s rally in Washington and hundreds of similar marches created solidarity for those denouncing US President Donald Trump’s views on abortion; immigration; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights; and more.
Afterward, a wave of women decided to run for elected office and the #MeToo movement against sexual misconduct became a cultural phenomenon in the US.
“We made a lot of noise,” said Elaine Wynn, an organizer. “But now how do we translate that noise into something concrete or fulfilling?”
Linda Sarsour, one of the four organizers of last year’s Washington march, said that Las Vegas was slotted for a major rally because it is a strategic swing state that gave former US secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton a narrow win in the 2016 US presidential election and would have one of the most competitive US Senate races this year.
Democrats believe they have a good chance of winning the seat held by embattled Republican US Senator Dean Heller and weakening the Republican party’s hold on the chamber.
Organizers say Nevada is also a microcosm of larger national issues, such as immigration and gun control, after Las Vegas became the scene of the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.
Ahead of the Las Vegas rally, Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains was to hold a huge voter registration training effort yesterday as part of a nationwide effort to register more than 1 million voters this year.
Minnie Wood, a nurse practitioner who participated in last year’s gathering in Las Vegas, said she was left with a sense of solidarity and “this feeling of almost a quickening, this resistance brewing.”
“I think when women see visible women’s leadership, bold and fierce, going up against a very racist, sexist, misogynist administration, it gives you a different level of courage that you may not have felt you had,” she said.
Last year’s march in Washington sparked debate over inclusion, with some transgender minority women complaining that the event seemed designed for white women born female.
Some anti-abortion activists said the event did not welcome them.
The organizers for today’s rally are striving for greater inclusion this year, with Latina and transgender female speakers, said Carmen Perez, another co-chair of last year’s Washington march.
Women in the US illegally, sex workers and those formerly incarcerated are welcome, she said.
Eman Hassaballa Aly, a 38-year-old digital communications manager and advocate, said that last year’s gathering in the Chicago area prompted two Muslim women she knows to run for office — one for state Senate and one for Congress.
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