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The 2020 Women’s March Confronts New Issues, Faces New Foes

By Photo, Photo Essay

  • On Jan. 18, approximately 10,000 people gathered at Grant Park for the annual Chicago Women’s March. Once the march began, protestors passed by designated blocks through what organizers called the “gallery of issues,” signifying the five main topics the march addresses this year: Census 2020, climate justice, gun violence prevention, health rights and access, and voting. By including this “gallery of issues” in collaboration with other coalition partners in Chicago, organizers hoped to emphasize the importance of intersectionality in addressing a multitude of topics.
  • Protesters carried signs declaring their frustrations, which often cited the patriarchy, climate change denial, and traditional gender roles as points of contention.
  • Organizers encouraged marchers to raise both their voices and their signs in order to showcase the many grievances being aired during the event. A popular source of anger was President Trump, whose political stance many participants at the march saw as fascist and misogynistic.
  • As the crowd of marchers gathered in Grant Park, three men flanked the event in their own protest, carrying large signs declaring their conservative values. One man brought a megaphone to broadcast his beliefs, referring to the Women’s March participants as “sinners.” Some marchers responded by posing in front of the men and blocking their signs.
  • A percussion band participating in the Women’s March chose to play music in front of the male counter protesters in an attempt to drown out the sound from the megaphones.
  • In response to the counter-protesters, members of the Women’s March began dancing and chanting together: “Get off the cross, white man.”
  • Some protestors took a more direct approach when confronted with the male counter protestors.
  • Marchers were undeterred by their encounter with the small group of counter-protesters, proceeding into the Loop on the designated route.
  • The first topic represented in the “gallery of issues” was gun violence prevention. Here, a group of participants met marchers as they passed, holding up signs declaring that gun violence must be stopped.
  • Participants in this year’s march walked through the busy downtown streets as they passed each marker of the “gallery of issues.”
  • Representatives for healthcare access handed out flyers and posters to marchers as they passed.
  • Climate justice was one of the main issues represented at this year’s march. Here, a group of youth climate activists from Sunrise Evanston chanted their support of climate justice and demanded action from the city of Chicago, holding up a banner made from recycled materials.

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