Community members to march for women’s rights

By Jessica Bursztynsky, Staff Writer

Thousands of people plan to gather on Jan. 21 for women’s marches at local and national levels across the U.S. to defend women’s rights.

Some of these marchers include members of the University and Champaign-Urbana community.

The Women’s March began as an all-inclusive movement to show solidarity with women, following Trump’s presidential inauguration on Jan. 20. The march’s original time and location was planned for Saturday in Washington, D.C., but once popularity of the Women’s March spread, other communities soon followed suit and planned marches in areas including Chicago and Champaign.

“We faced an election filled with misogyny, and I expect this march to assert that anti-women policies will be opposed vehemently by the American people,” said Illini Democrats President Spencer Haydary in an email. Haydary will be attending the official march in Chicago.

Haydary added that an incredibly diverse range of women and people will participate in the march.  This “remarkable demonstration of unity” is aimed at getting the attention of the administration, he said.

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The Champaign County Young Democrats is hosting the Women’s March on C-U for those wanting to stay local.

People protesting will gather at West Side Park at 11 a.m. and will march to Cowboy Monkey in downtown Champaign.

There will be a live-stream of the Washington, D.C. program as well as words from “local female leaders” following the march.

Matt Duco, a member of the Champaign County Young Democrats, is hoping for a large turnout for the event, as over 1500 people have expressed interest on Facebook.

“Our biggest goal is to help inspire more young people and women to get involved in the political process and, especially, to help inspire more women to run for office in the future,”said Duco. “We also want to show our support for the many diverse groups in our community who will be continuing to fight for gender, racial, social and economic equality.”

In addition, the group wanted to provide a local outlet to “demonstrate to Donald Trump, Bruce Rauner and local republicans that the results of the November election was not a mandate to implement the extreme right-wing agenda they support,” Duco said.

Community members Julie Pryde and Sue Feldman wanted to be involved in the movement.

So they began to find ways to transport people to the Women’s March on Chicago.

Pryde, originally hoping to travel to Washington, D.C., explained that taking a bus to Chicago is a good middle ground for those wanting to participate.

“We have people on the bus who have protested in favor of women’s rights, we have people on there like me, who’s an old AIDS activist, we have people on there who are gay rights activists,” Pryde said.

Pryde said the first charter bus has been filled and is selling spots for the second bus on a sliding scale from $35 to $50. All funds raised will be directly donated to the Eastern Illinois Refugee Center.

“We have people on there who have never in their life felt compelled to protest anything, yet they’re calling for a ticket on the bus,” she said.

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