This weekend, women will take to the streets in more than 300 cities worldwide. There are at least nine women’s marches scheduled in Illinois Saturday, including Chicago, Rockford, Carbondale, and a number of points in-between.
Alicia Neubauer remembers hoping a few hundred people would show up for the women’s march she helped organize in Rockford last year. About a thousand women, men, and children joined her. Organizers are ready for bigger crowds this year.
“I think we are hopeful for a better time,” Neubauer said. “We are hopeful for our children, we are hopeful for the little girls who are watching, and learning, and modeling our behaviors.”
Neubauer expects to see a diverse crowd and wants everyone to know they are welcome. She says the march is about hope, which is bigger than any one issue.
“We welcome pro-life groups,” she said. “We welcome Young Republicans, we welcome the Muslim-American Association. We welcome Black Lives Matter. We welcome everyone to walk peacefully together.”
Neubauer says her goal is for this march to symbolize a first step in a year of activism. She says while a lot of people connected with each other at last year’s march, women still have a long way to go when it comes to getting elected to public office or pursuing leadership positions.
Many of the marches are taking the theme of “Power to the Polls,” encouraging voter registration, voting, and women running for office. Neubauer says she sees the march as the first step in a year of activism.
Marches step off in Rockford and Carbondale at 11 a.m. Saturday. A sign-making party is being held Wednesday in downtown Rockford, at 328 E. State St, starting at 6 p.m.