Second Women’s March in Chicago draws LT students, 300,000 protesters

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Second Women’s March in Chicago draws LT students, 300,000 protesters

Lars Lonnroth, Assistant News Editor

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CHICAGO—People from all over Chicagoland descended on Grant Park Jan. 20 for The March to the Polls, the second large-scale demonstration by the people who organized last year’s Women’s March. The event, organizers say, drew 300,000-400,000 people—even more than last year—including some LT students.

“I went to last years and honestly I feel the same feeling,” Claire Arnold ’19 said. “It is so empowering to be around so many people that are so outspoken about what they believe in and so happy to be speaking out.”

Miranda Olsen ’19 found the experience so wonderful because it brought people together to stand up for what they believe in.

“I am here because I came last year and it was really surreal to see all these people coming together for one cause,” she said.

The protest aimed to energize people to cast ballots in this year’s midterm election on Nov. 6—and use that energy to elect progressives, minorities and women.

“It’s one thing to be here today to remind ourselves of our collective strength,” Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said at a pre-march rally, “but if we don’t register to vote, if we don’t knock on doors, if we don’t support other women running for office and run for office ourselves, we will continue to be marginalized.”

Some LT students in attendance agreed that the minimal involvement of women in politics needs to change, because women need to be involved in the decision-making process.

“There are so few women in the Senate and in Congress and it make me really upset because it is basically men making decisions,” Arnold said.

Kathleen McMahon ’19 agreed with Arnold and said that there was an easy solution.

“We need to vote,” McMahon said. “Everyone in our junior class will be able to vote in the next [presidential] election and we need to get out there and say what we need to say. That this is inexcusable and we can’t have a president that is like this.”

The event, while not called the Women’s March, did still have a lot of feminist undertones. The #MeToo movement was a pervasive topic of discussion during the rally, in addition to calls for embracing immigrants, supporting of progressive candidates and criticism of President Donald Trump.

But it did spur counter protests, however some of those demonstrators prefer to call it preaching the gospel rather than protest.

“We’re preaching the gospel to all of these sinners and abortion is clearly murder,” a women who only wanted to be identified as Ele said. “Once this country was great before the eyes of god. Now, this country is falling down like the roman empire.”

Ele and the other protesters were surrounded by massive crowds of marchers who chanted to drown out them out. Ele’s organization was later asked by police to move “for their safety,” she said.

Cecelie Lopez ’19 was in the area after the protesters were asked to move, but she said that if they were still there she would have been one of the people protesting them.

“I [would’ve been] ready to protest right back, because if they are allowed to have a voice, so are we,” Lopez said. “Of course, opinions are important but you should fight for what you believe in.”