Women’s March Chicago 'taking over the city once again’ in 2020 as census and elections near

Chicago Tribune 1 month ago

As the 2020 census and presidential elections approach, Women’s March Chicago announced on Tuesday its plans for marches next year aiming to encourage participation in the two national events.

The group will be hosting a march on Saturday, Jan. 18 to boost participation in the census in April and a second march in October to support early voting for the presidential elections, said board President Jaquie Algee at a news conference in Grant Park Tuesday.

The marches are slated to begin in Grant Park, where participants will be “taking over the city once again,” Algee said.

The first Women’s March Chicago event in January 2017 drew a quarter of a million people according to organizers’ estimates. The march in 2018 drew even more people by organizers’ counts, 300,000.

Women’s March Chicago did not hold a march in January, noting the high cost of holding multiple events close together. At the time, some national leaders of the Women’s March movement faced allegations of anti-Semitism and other complaints. While the Chicago group said the national controversy was not its justification for holding no January march this year, one local organizer said the opportunity of distancing from the national leaders was a “side benefit.”

Next January’s march will be different in format from past marches that featured large-scale rallies, Algee said in an interview.

"We’ll do a welcome pump up and then take off and start marching,” with groups stationed along the march path from Grant Park to Federal Plaza to “keep the crowd moving.”

The shift to making the January march more mobile is due to “Chicago’s often blisteringly cold winter weather,” according to a news release.

Tina Hone, chief equity officer of YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago, encouraged participation of the January march and the census at Tuesday’s news conference, responding to concerns that census takers would breach people’s personal information.

“A census taker is not going to care if you got people are living in your house that your landlord doesn’t know about, they’re not going to tell your landlord, they’re not going to tell ICE, " Hone said. “If you don’t count everyone in your household, you will lose your voice.”

The October march will follow the traditional format and will also be accompanied with a “voter village” on Columbus Drive, where civic organizations will be stationed to encourage registration and voting, Algee said.

Diane Latiker, founder and president of Kids off the Block, made a plea to young people to participate in next year’s national elections.

“Young people ages 18-23 in 2020 are projected to comprise 1 in 10 eligible voters,” Latiker said, citing analysis by Pew Research Center. “But will they come out to vote? Or will they once again let older voters speak for them?”

“Young people, there is so much at stake,” she said. “We need your vote.”


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