Women's March demonstrators urge vote for change at rallies across the country

Thousands of mostly young women in masks rallied Saturday in the nation's capital and other U.S. cities, exhorting voters to oppose President Donald Trump and his fellow Republican candidates in the Nov. 3 elections.

"The point of today's march is to stand together as women," said Gianna Gizzi with Women's March Illinois.

The latest of rallies that began with a massive women's march the day after Trump's January 2017 inauguration was playing out during the coronavirus pandemic, and demonstrators were asked to wear face coverings and practice social distancing.

Rachel O'Leary Carmona, executive director of the Women's March, opened the event by asking people to keep their distance from one another, saying that the only superspreader event would be the recent one at the White House.

She talked about the power of women to end Trump's presidency.

"His presidency began with women marching and now it's going to end with woman voting. Period," she said.

Saturday's march is the second women's march this year, this time with the focus of getting women to the polls to vote in record numbers.

"We are both over 65, so we asked for mail in ballots although our 24-year-old daughter also did, and we have all submitted them and received word in Chicago from the election board that they have been received and will count," said marcher Romona Curry.

"Vote for your daughter's future," read one message in the sea of signs carried by demonstrators. "Fight like a girl," said another.

Dozens of other rallies were planned from New York to San Francisco to signal opposition to Trump and his policies, especially the push to fill the seat of late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg before Election Day.

"We are here outside the federal courthouse (in Chicago) because this is where the 7th circuit is which is where judge Amy Barrett came from and where we think she should return," Gizzi said.

Many said they are concerned about the President's nomination.

"I was devastated when I heard RGB died because it was going to be that he was not going to wait and that he was going to try to get a nominee in as fast he could," said Elena Hajjar.

One march was held at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, outside the dormitory where Bader Ginsburg lived as an undergraduate student.

In New York, a demonstrator wearing a Donald Trump mask stood next to a statue of George Washington at Federal Hall during the the women's march outside the New York Stock Exchange.

"We Dissent," said a cardboard sign carried by a young woman wearing a red mask with small portraits of the liberal Supreme Court justice whose Sept. 18 death sparked the rush by Republicans to replace her with a conservative.

In Washington, the demonstrators started with a rally at Freedom Plaza, then marched toward Capitol Hill, finishing in front of the Supreme Court, where they were met by a handful of anti-abortion activists.

Demonstrators are also critical of the president's handling of the pandemic.

"People are getting this, 'oh it is in the rear view mirror.' It's not. It is in the front mirror. We are driving into something bigger than we can ever imagine," said Jackie Simmons.

These are just some of the reasons why this crowd says everyone needs to make sure their voices are heard with their ballot.

"This truly feels like it is the most important election in my whole entire lifetime so I couldn't think of any other way of expressing myself then to get out here on the streets," said fellow marcher Merri Fefles.

"When I was a teenager, people died in the civil rights movement fighting for the right to vote and since then they have tried to roll that back and make it so hard to vote," added Gene Bild.

In one of several speeches at the rally, Sonja Spoo, director of reproductive rights campaigns at Ultraviolet, said she has to chuckle when she hears reporters ask Trump whether he will accept a peaceful transfer of power if he loses his reelection bid.

"When we vote him out, come Nov. 3, there is no choice," said Spoo. "Donald Trump will not get to choose whether he stays in power."

"That is not his power, that is our power. ... We are the hell and high water," she said.
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