Women’s Marches draw large crowds on second day

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Thousands of demonstrators gathered on Sunday in cities across the United States for a second day of Women’s Marches, calling for equality and respect while urging supporters to make their voices heard by voting in this year’s midterm elections.

Sunday’s marches were held one year from the day hundreds of thousands of women, donning pink hats, took to the streets of Washington in a stunning display of resistance to President Donald Trump, whose administration many feared could threaten women’s rights.

The largest of the marches on Sunday was expected to take place in Las Vegas, but others were scheduled in Seattle, Miami, Phoenix and many other cities across the country and around the world.

The demonstrations came one day after hundreds of thousands of men, women and children took to the streets Saturday in Washington, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles and other cities on the one-year anniversary of Trump’s inauguration.

But, marches weren’t limited to the US. Over the weekend, activists gathered in cities across Europe, including London on Sunday and Rome on Saturday.

This year, attendees are hoping their voices can generate concrete action at the ballot box.

“Today is about what we are really gonna do,” said Cassady Fendlay, a spokeswoman and board member for the national Women’s March organization, about the Las Vegas rally. “It’s really about electoral engagement in 2018.”

The national organization anticipates holding events similar to the one in Las Vegas in battleground states throughout the year as part of a national effort to energize women voters, Fendlay said.

A list of speakers for the Las Vegas event includes US Rep. John Lewis and the singer and actress Cher.

And, politics weren’t the only thing on demonstrators’ minds. The marches also coincided with the recent #MeToo and Time’s Up movements against sexual assault and harassment. Carrying signs, demonstrators voiced their support for women’s rights and equality and the cultural shift that has rocked numerous industries and communities in the past few months.

Rachel Baxa marched in Boise, Idaho with her 2-year-old daughter, Georgia, in tow.

Baxa said she was motivated to march “by a myriad of things,” including a certain “horrific phrase” said by the president.

“The fact that my daughter would grow up to be something that could be reduced to mere gruesome locker room talk by the type of man who could earn the presidency in this country, I was terrified,” Baxa told CNN via Instagram.

She said she herself had been sexualized and seen her ability to make choices about her body taken from her.

“I want to take steps to make it clear that subjecting my daughter to the same was not an option,” she said. “This is her second march; it will not be her last.”

Kari Whaley, 30, brought her 8-year-old son to Sunday’s march in Orlando.

“I did not march last year,” Whaley told CNN, but “I’m marching this year to empower women to go to the polls in this midterm election.”

Ellen Bowen participated in her second march this year, also in Miami. But, it was her first in the United States, she said. Last year, she was in Toronto “as I couldn’t bear being in the USA on Inauguration Day.”

Hollie S. Chambers marched in Miami, carrying a sign that said, “A woman’s place is in the revolution!”

This year’s march was Chambers’ first, she told CNN via Instagram.

“I recently moved to Florida from NJ,” Chambers said, “and wanted to get started in advocacy in my new community.”

Kelley Robinson, Planned Parenthood’s national organizing director, told CNN on Saturday that many of the women who marched last year have been inspired to run for office themselves.

“It’s a time where we’re not just showing up – folks are saying that, ‘Hey, we actually need to be sitting in those chairs,'” Robinson said. “You know, so everyone who was out in the airports rallying last year and marching in the streets, many of them are now sitting in state legislatures across the country. It’s a powerful moment that we’re in.”