This past weekend, they marched. In November, they vote.
A year after millions of people took to the streets en masse to reject President Donald Trump’s inauguration, protesters poured through cities across the world Saturday for the second Women’s March.
Under the theme “Power to the Polls,” the rallies were hailed as the beginning of a new era in female political activism, with organizers hoping to encourage more women and their allies in political office.
Currently, only 19 percent of elected officials across the nation are women.
At the Statehouse in Columbus, Janet Garrett, Oberlin resident and Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, urged women to take their activism to the next level.
“When I was a young girl, I was inspired by people who stood up and took risks to speak out again injustice, even when it was hard, even when it was dangerous,” she said.
While the turnout numbers didn’t quite match those of the unprecedented marches of last year, Saturday’s turnout revealed a sustained, impactful political statement.
“This is not just a protest. This is a movement and it’s accelerating,” Garrett said. “This to me seems like the 60s on steroids.”
A deluge of revelations about powerful men abusing women has pushed activists to demand deeper social and political change, leading to the #MeToo movement. Women are stepping up and saying no, Garrett said.
She hopes their enthusiasm will translate into electoral victories in this year’s midterm elections, and she anticipated a “huge swing in the political pendulum.”
She carried a sign with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr., the same one she’s carried in 20 other protests.
“We see evil in high places where men are willing to sacrifice truth on the altars of their self-interest,” the poster says.
Laurie Hamame can be reached at 440-420-8083 or @HamameNews on Twitter.
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