“Everything we’ve done has led to this,” said Caitlin Breedlove, deputy executive director for organizational progress for the Women’s March. “We are not only in support. We are actually fighting for what we need to build. “
The march comes days before the Senate holds its first vote to confirm that Barrett will replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginzburg, a liberal leader and feminist icon. The Senate Judiciary Committee is due to vote Thursday to nominate candidate Barrett, who will consolidate the court̵7;s conservative advantage. The Republican majority is expected to approve the nomination.
By 11 a.m. Saturday, several hundred people had gathered at a noon rally at Freedom Plaza to call on women to vote and call on Congress to halt the Supreme Court’s confirmation process. After the rally, participants plan to march southeast along Pennsylvania Avenue to the northwest, and then to Constitution Avenue north to the Supreme Court.
Among the demonstrators, dressed in bright pink hats and face masks adorned with jewelry, 7-year-old twins Harriet and Miles Gilliam from Boston stood stoically next to their mother. Harriet, dressed as Ginzburg with a lace collar, took part in her third Women’s March. Miles was dressed in a suit and had a plaque similar to the one held by the late Congressman John Lewis (D-Ga.) In his iconic 1961 kitchen picture taken after he was arrested for using a bathroom reserved for white people in Mississippi.
“You can use social media for anything, but there’s something to be said for the show,” said Justina Gilliam, 40, who said she attended every women’s march in Washington.
This year’s event has an urgency similar to the first, she said. “There is despair in this.”
A group of a dozen women dressed as slaves, with red dresses and white hats, lined up with signs around their necks saying “Trump Pence NOW!”
The costumes were a reference to Barrett’s lead role in the Christian group People of Praise, a position that was called a “slave” until 2017, when Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel, A Dystopian Novel, was adapted for television, and the term was associated with women. conquered men.
A few feet away, Kelsey Weir, a 29-year-old artist from southern New Jersey, held a sign reading “WAP: Women Against Patriarchy.”
Weir said she was terrified of the coming years, especially with Barrett in the Supreme Court. She said she considered it a citizen’s duty to march. “Women are threatened in a world where the Christian theocracy threatens to take power,” she said, pointing to women in slave costumes. “This is a crisis for our world. The next few weeks are going to solve so many things for women. “
Protesters plan to turn around the US Capitol and end the march at the mall, where a smaller group of protesters will take part in a text event to urge women across the country to vote. Thousands of Women’s March volunteers have already sent text messages to more than 4 million women voters and intend to send 5 million texts on Saturday, the group said.
At the same time, a counter-protest organized by a conservative women’s organization will also take place in the Supreme Court. The “I’m with her” action in support of Barrett, organized by the Independent Women’s Forum, is scheduled for 1 p.m. to send a message that the participants of the Women’s March “do not speak for all women.” The counter-protest is expected to be smaller than the Women’s March.
Parking is prohibited on several streets in the District of Columbia, while others have closed Saturday for events that began at 11 a.m. and are expected until 5 p.m.
Every year, when women with pink hats first flood the capital the day after President Trump’s inauguration in 2017, the Women’s March organizes marches in January across the country, promoting a list of political demands and helping motivate women to run for office in record numbers. But in recent years, the marches have gathered far fewer people than the first historical figures. Sometimes the national organization tried to stay relevant, as dozens of its initial members diverted their attention to other reasons.
At the last Women’s March in January, some attendees said they hoped they would not have to go again after the 2020 election.
But last month, “the death of Ruth Bader Ginzburg reloaded the country,” said Rachel O’Leary Carmona, executive director of the Women’s March.
The group’s organizers quickly planned hundreds of marches, both virtual and personal, focusing primarily on suffrage and the Supreme Court’s confirmation process.
“We did not want to draw energy from the election process,” Bridlov said. “We really wanted to help harness the power of the women we work with.”
The march will take place against the backdrop of an economic downturn that has severely affected colored women and mothers, the Supreme Court’s candidacy, which many fear threatens women’s reproductive rights, and the presidential election, which is more likely to be decided by women. Former Vice President Joe Biden has a 23 percent point advantage over Trump among likely female voters (59 to 36 percent), according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll. Meanwhile, Trump and Biden share men who have 48 percent each.
According to the survey, the gender gap is even larger in the suburbs, where women prefer Biden by 62% to 34%. Men in the suburbs are leaning towards Trump, 54 percent support his re-election and 43 percent support Biden.
The initial Women’s March brought many of these women out of the suburbs, including many who had never attended a protest before. But concerns about coronavirus cases, which are rising again in many states, could lead to a much lower turnout this year, especially given the relatively old demographic database of Women’s March.
According to Dana R. Fisher, a professor at the University of Maryland who studies the protest movement, the average age of those who attended the first women’s march in 2017 was 43 years. Meanwhile, the average age at Black Life protests during the summer was more than 10 years younger.
Women’s leaders in March said they hoped for a smaller crowd in the District of Columbia because of social distance issues. Unlike previous years, organizers discourage participants from traveling to the District of Columbia from states that are on the quarantine list and do not participate in the organization of buses arriving from other cities. Instead, they are urging supporters to attend local marches or participate in their efforts, O’Leary Carmona said. In the District of Columbia, LED screens will be placed throughout the area to encourage wearing masks and social distance.
Women who go on Saturday are almost exclusively focused on voting for Trump out of office. But even if Biden wins the election, according to the organizers of the Women’s March, they will continue to play an important role in activating women so that they can participate in activism and politics.
“The need for this will not end after this election. . . because this is a correction that needs to take place in politics in the United States, ”Breedlove said. “There has to be an organization for women that says, ‘Come as you are. . . . There is a place for you ‘. “