UPDATE: The Women’s March planned for Saturday in Iowa City is canceled because of weather. A new date has not been announced.
IOWA CITY — For the fourth year in a row, protesters will gather Saturday in downtown Iowa City for the Women’s March.
“We’re just getting back together to reflect on our progress. We want to recommit ourselves to rising up together as women,” said Casey Gale, who helped organize the Iowa City Women’s March.
The Women’s March started in 2017 as a national effort to rally women and their supporters after President Donald Trump’s election. That year, hundreds of thousands of women marched in cities across the country and around the world, including in Iowa City, Des Moines and elsewhere in Iowa.
After upheavals in leadership at the national level last year, this year’s national march is expected to be smaller, and there are fewer affiliate marches happening nationwide, the Washington Post reported. Des Moines is not hosting a march, instead holding a virtual event a week later, on Jan. 25, when people can listen to speakers on the Women’s March Iowa Facebook page.
Iowa City march organizers, however, aren’t planning to scale down this year.
“We decided to go ahead with our march again this year because we enjoy it, and we feel people are starting to expect it,” Gale said.
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“It just brings so many incredible people from all backgrounds together. Iowa City is just a really wonderful place to keep this up, because we have such engaged participants and voters. They really show up, and we appreciate that.”
The march starts with three speakers at 10 a.m. on the Pedestrian Mall, followed by a short march through downtown that ends back at the Pedestrian Mall. No streets will be closed.
“Our main focuses this year are the environmental crisis, immigration and communities and reproductive rights,” Gale said.
She said they also will emphasize voter registration, with the Iowa caucuses around the corner on Feb. 3. She said she wasn’t aware of any presidential candidates who planned to attend, and that the march organizers had not reached out to any.
Speakers will include Monique Galpin, a member of the Black Women’s Maternal Health Collective and Chair of the Emma Goldman Clinic Board of Directors; RaQuishia Harrington, North Liberty City Council member and director of a community recreation program for underserved populations; and Janice Weiner, a new Iowa City Council member and former U.S. State Department diplomat.
Harrington said she will focus on reproductive rights as a main issue of concern, days after Gov. Kim Reynolds called for an anti-abortion amendment to the state constitution in her Condition of the State address this week.
“Being a mother to young girls, I want them to have a choice and a say as to what they do with their future,” Harrington said.
She said she sees speaking at the march as a way to empower and uplift women.
“I think a march or a rally is just one of those visual things to say we support you, we’re here with you, we’re part of the struggle, but we’re also part of the successes,” she said. “I thought it was only right as a women of color to be here in solidarity with other women.”
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