[image-1] Last year, on the same weekend as the inauguration of the 45th president of the United States, more than 2,000 women, children, and men walked the streets of downtown Charleston in the pouring rain, holding posters and banners like the one above.
A year later, as much as things have changed — forecast calls for sunny skies — the more things have stayed the same. The second South Carolina Women’s March will be held this Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. at Brittlebank park. There will be no march through the streets, but there will be a rally with a very specific purpose: making the electoral process accessible for every person.
While this year’s rally is held in celebration of last year’s impressive turnout, as well as in honor of “queen mother” of the Civil Rights movement and native Charlestonian Septima Clark, it is also held as a “fervent call to action.”
The statement of purpose for the event delineates what this rally is all about:
In calling for Electoral Justice, we are advocating for stronger voter protections via equitable and just voting rights. We are calling for the removal of structural and financial barriers that impede women, women of color and all members of marginalized communities from running for office. We are calling for an end to voter suppression. We are demanding that our governing bodies be more reflective of the people they serve. It is our goal to truly democratize the electoral process and to achieve justice for all of us. In keeping with its theme, the event is designed to energize and mobilize attendees in preparation for the statewide elections taking place in 2018.
The lineup of speakers for Saturday’s rally is impressive, beginning with keynote speaker Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter (D-Orangeburg). Taking the stage will also be The Indigenous Women’s Alliance of South Carolina, Chairwoman with Indivisible Charleston Vanessa Moody-Laird, LGBTQI advocate and playwright Vanity Deterville, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, the College of Charleston Black Student Union, and many more. [content-2] Food vendors will be onsite as well as tables selling the official 2018 Women’s March T-shirt (order T-shirts, as well as hoodies, totes, and mugs ahead of time online). Parking for the event can be found around Brittlebank, or at the large gravel pay lot ($5 per car) located across from the RiverDogs stadium on Fishburne Street.
According to manager of the Charleston Activist Network and state leader for the S.C. chapter of the Women’s March Tamika “Mika” Gadsden, the money collected from the event (and from donations/merchandise purchased online) will be going to non-partisan non profit fiscal donor Indivisible Charleston. “We will use some of that money to cover the costs of the rally. Anything left over will go into a comprehensive GOTV (get out the vote) initiative that I personally will be spearheading with other community partners. We are aiming to connect with and mobilize POC, people living on the margins, and those who have fallen victim to voter suppression. We want to reach a section of eligible voters and educate them on the issues, help them register to vote and get them to the polls on election day.”
In preparation for the rally, follow @scwomensmarch on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and @CharlestonActivistNetwork on Facebook and Instagram and @ChsActNet on Twitter.