January 20, 2018 brought 7,000+ people to Public Square in Cleveland, Ohio. Women (and men) of all ages and ethnic groups, and many races, religious persuasions and political viewpoints gathered on the first anniversary of the 2017 Women’s Marches across the USA protesting Donald Trump’s Inauguration, and in particular this year, to rally around the message: “Power to the Polls!”
Women and men, millennials, college students, teenagers, and little girls and boys stood together on that chilly sunny day, and dreamed of a better Cleveland, a better Ohio, a better America, a better world…that could be brought to birth by the power of the Vote!
The 2018 Cleveland March was organized by Kathy Wray Coleman and the Imperial Women’s Coalition, Cleveland, Ohio, and others.. Speakers, including women across racial and ethnic lines, Black Women Activists, Political Candidates Betty Sutton and Tara Mosley-Samples, a young female Dreamer, a women from Equality Northeast Ohio, and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America were among those who stood before the crowd and called for big changes in America which necessitate that all eligible registered voters get to the Polls in May and November 2018!
Many Fairview Park Democratic Club Members and Friends from other nearby Democratic Clubs found each other throughout the day as they listened to the Speakers and joined in the March, which took a route from Public Square to East 6th, north to City Hall, east on Lakeside, south on East 9th, and then west on Superior to return to Public Square. Kim Mann from Fairview Park, Matt Kuhns from Lakewood, and a large number of Volunteers recruited by the Ohio Democratic Party and the National Women’s March in Washington, DC assisted attendees by ushering Marchers to safety on and around the Public Square grounds.
Marchers carried countless posters protesting sexism and bigotry, and supporting themes flowing from the “Me Too” movement. Rally chants, e.g., “Tell me what Democracy looks like! This is what Democracy looks like!” could be heard continuously, as the almost endless trail of Marchers progressed along the route.
The 2018 March highlighted women’s rights issues across the board from unequal pay to an attack on healthcare incentives and reproductive rights and a legal system nationally that disenfranchises women across racial lines. Many spoke of educational inequality, bigotry against immigrants and the LGBTQ community, opioid addiction and many other pressing issues facing women in our neighborhoods and nation today. Voter registration and GOTV efforts to engage communities are a desired outcome of the 2018 March, and we hope to elect many more women Candidates, and others who will stand for policies that reflect our values in a much more inclusive manner.
Dana R. Fisher, PhD Professor of Sociology at the University of Maryland, has been researching “protests” since 2000. Following the 2018 March, she appeared on MSNBC with Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough. Dr. Fisher notes that 1/3 of those in the 2017 protest were “new” to the activity of a protest, but following the March in Washington, had returned later to protest science, climate change, and other social concerns. Fifteen percent of those “virgin protesters” from 2017 were moderate or right leaning, thus expanding the reach of “The Resistance” beyond basic Democrats.
The photos (above and right) are a succinct capture of the “Motivations for the Women’s March in 2017 & 2018.”
Some of the outcomes Dr. Dana Fisher reports are: more contacts with elected officials, more engaging in Town Hall meetings and protests in local areas, and a heightened interest in mid-term elections.
Are you challenging the Presidency and Politics of Donald Trump? How will you assist in Voter Registration & 2018 GOTV efforts?
Gallery of Photos from the 2018 Cleveland Women’s March!