A protester holds a sign at the Lincoln Memorial to rally before the second annual Women's March in D.C. celebrating women's rights on Jan. 20, 2018. (Michael A. McCoy/The Washington Informer)
**FILE** A protester holds a sign at the Lincoln Memorial to rally before the second annual Women's March in D.C. celebrating women's rights on Jan. 20, 2018. (Michael A. McCoy/The Washington Informer)

Thousands of people again converged on D.C. over the weekend for the second National Women’s Day March, a women-led movement that advocates for a range of issues, including ending violence against women, LGBT rights, immigrant rights and environmental justice.

Brightly dressed in hot pink “pussyhats” — a reference to Donald Trump’s lewd remarks about grabbing women by the genitals in a 2005 recording — participants began the Jan. 20 march with a rally at Lincoln Memorial and ended at the White House.

“This could not have come soon enough,” said Susan Booker, who came from New York to participate. “This same march is happening in New York as we speak, but I couldn’t stay there to protest. I had to be near the White House, where all of the law makers reside and them know our voices will be heard. The time is now for people of all backgrounds to come together and put away their differences. No more being silent. March for equality, march for justice, march for peace and march for freedom. These ideas didn’t just stop with Martin Luther King Jr. or Franklin D. Roosevelt. We have to make our voices heard and rise up against the antics of Trump and those who don’t support equality.”

While the issues people are protesting this year were similar to last year, which came a day after Trump’s inauguration, one thing undeniably different is the record number of women now running for political offices.

Themed “Power to the Polls,” the high-octane event served as a symbol of female empowerment and encouraged women to vote and to run for office, spearheaded by the new network of women-led grass-roots groups including Run for Something, Our Revolution and Flippable.

To date, there are an unprecedented 35,000 female candidates running for varied political office — some running for the first time and overwhelmingly Democratic.

Currently there are 390 women planning to run for House seats, higher than at any point in American history, thecut.com reported. Twenty-two of them are non-incumbent Black women (there are currently only 18 Black women in the House). Forty-nine women are likely to be running for the Senate, more than 68 percent higher than the number who’d announced at the same point in 2014 and at least 79 women are exploring runs for governor in 2018, which will potentially double the record for female candidates set in 1994, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.

“If we want to see a real difference in this country, we’re going to have to get out there and vote,” said D.C. resident Jessica Randolph. “I came to this march last year and what these marches really show me is our power as a people to mobilize. We have to get out there and vote, take public office and really create and impact some major policies. Time is up and the time is now. Let’s get out here and march and then after we march, lets vote and then after we vote, lets run for office.”

Though the overall theme of the march centered around female voting and public office, other attendees also the event to showcase their displeasure with the president, with multiple signs reading “Impeach Trump” visible in the crowd.

“I’m sick of all of this,” one marcher said. “It’s 2018 and I think it’s absurd that we still have to march for this. … It’s ridiculous and I’m insulted. I don’t have a lot to say about this policy or that — hell, I don’t even always know what’s going on in the world, because it’s just too much. But I do know that a solution to some of these problems is getting rid of Trump and I’m here to do my part.”

Kicking off a yearlong campaign led by the Women’s March to get more women involved in government, the main event for the protest took place in Las Vegas on Jan. 21.

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Lauren M. Poteat

Lauren Poteat is a versatile writer with a strong background in communications and media experience with an additional background in education and development.

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