The Next Steps for the Women’s March? Moving a Progressive Agenda.

Source: In These Times

After year one of the Trump presidency, women are furious. Now, many are asking where we go from here.

At the 2018 Chicago Women’s March, Mujeres Latinas en Accion community leader Frances Velez marched with members of the longstanding Latina empowerment organization, sporting glittery eyeliner and holding a sign that read, “They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds!”

Velez’s path to empowerment wasn’t easy. Ten years ago, she turned to Mujeres as a survivor of domestic abuse. Now, she’s an activist. As she says, “If I can do it, anybody else can do it.”

Velez was one of hundreds of thousands who gathered on January 20 for Women’s Marches across the country that rivaled 2017 crowds—in a clear rebuke of year one of Trump’s presidency. March organizers had no small task: transforming the raw nerve of last year’s historic demonstrations into a movement.

The 2017 Women’s March kicked off a year of activist efforts against the travel bans and Republican attempts to reform healthcare, taxation and immigration. Now, with the #MeToo movement ousting men who abuse their power—and opening space for women’s leadership—the question of the 2018 marches is how to galvanize that spirit for long-term change. This year, march attendees were more focused on action—and more informed about what a Trump presidency means.

Yet, in Chicago, organizers prioritized turning out the vote for the Democratic Party without consistently pushing a conversation about what it looks like to bring progressive politics to the electoral arena. But this did not stop grassroots organizers from bringing their own progressive politics to the march—and mobilizing their members to join and engage the historic gathering.

For the 2018 Chicago March, Liz Gomez, who is part of the National Youth Art Movement Against Gun Violence, painted a 1970s-inspired sign as a nod to the “energy, power and vivaciousness” of women of color, she told In These Times. As an Afro-Latina woman, she said it’s important to show up in spaces like the Women’s March that have been criticized for a lack of intersectionality.

“I feel the stakes are higher, because last year, it was before we really knew what was going to happen,” said Gomez, who went to Washington, D.C. for the 2017 march. “This year, it’s like, ‘We expressed that initial anger and frustration, and now, what are we going to do about it?’”

For both the national event in Las Vegas and local Women’s Marches around the country, the answer was clear: Get out the vote. And more importantly, make sure women are riding the 2018 blue wave in elections big and small.

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