Women’s March Chicago Overflows Grant Park

By Evi Arthur

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Marchers stormed across Michigan Avenue with thousands of homemade signs in hand. Photo by Evi Arthur.

On Saturday, Jan. 20, over 300,000 people gathered in Grant Park to participate in the second annual Women’s March. After a rally with speakers ranging from Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx to the cast of “Hamilton,” the demonstrators moved across the empty Michigan Avenue to march through the empty streets of Chicago.

The first Women’s March took place on Jan. 21, 2017, the day following President Trump’s inauguration. The purpose was to advocate against discriminatory laws towards marginalized communities such as the LGBTQ+ community, women, immigrants and people of color.

Now, a year later, the purpose of the Women’s March has only been strengthened by constant attempts from Trump and his administration to attack certain groups of marginalized people. Some of these attacks included the Muslim ban, the exclusion of transgender people from the military and Trump’s attacks against birth control.

“I believe that the current status of women’s issues in our government needs to be reiterated by showing public support,” said freshman history major Mickey Dywer.  “I was very excited to be able to participate this year.”

For students like Rane Kenny, a freshman English major, participating in the Women’s March was more about contributing to the bigger picture. “I wanted to be apart of the fight for women and for Chicago,” said Kenny.

During the rally that started before the march, many women from all over Chicago got up to speak on stage and empower the crowd. The Chicago Tribune reported some of these women were Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer and even Chicago Fire actress Monica Raymund

Sophomore hospitality major Andrew Roth said one speaker in particular really stood out to him. “A Muslim woman took to the stand to chant a verse from the Quran. I couldn’t understand what she was saying but I was incredibly touched. It was beautiful,” said Roth.

After the rally had taken place in Grant Park, the demonstrators took to the streets, walking across Michigan avenue and heading towards Federal Plaza, where the march dispersed. Along the way, many demonstrators chanted things like, “This is what democracy looks like” and “Immigrants welcome here.”

“I felt strangely content as I watched people show their discontent. I found that there is comfort in knowing that so many others share the same worries and outrage as myself,” said Dwyer.

While walking down Jackson Boulevard, some attendees even began to play songs like Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” from portable speakers and the rest of the crowd was quick to join in.

“I felt touched with the number of diverse and strong women surrounding me,” Roth said, “both my friends and strangers.”

After only one year under President Trump and two nationwide Women’s Marches, the message to Trump is clear: The marchers are here to stay.

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