On Mar. 8, Springfield held their annual women’s march. Many people of various backgrounds attended, showing up to show their support for equality and share ideas. Numerous students from Springfield High School attended, along with younger children and older people, proving how equality is for women of all ages. Katie George, an SHS senior, said “Seeing all the diversity, older men and different cultures, was very cool.”
The march was originally scheduled for January to coincide with the other women’s marches across the nation, but was cancelled due to weather. Mar. 8 was a fitting day for the rescheduling because it was International Women’s Day. This fact elevated the energy level and created an even more positive atmosphere.
The event began with a group of speakers who addressed the large crowd at the Abraham Lincoln statue in front of the Capitol, along with a poet and singer. The speakers focused on various topics and movements, including Planned Parenthood, immigration, LGBT rights and Black Lives Matter, but the underlying theme in every speech was voting. Everyone was encouraged to register to vote and go to the polls to use their voice. Betsy Dirksen Londrigan, candidate for Congress in Illinois’ 13th Congressional District, spoke to the group and got them excited about voting. The idea of voting for candidates who stand up for women’s rights was at the forefront and the crowd seemed to be very energized about the topic.
Staffer Molly Harms and her friend Katie George, both seniors, attended the march.
A very large piece of the march that is usually shared on social media is the signs. Most people who attend make original signs with the hope of spreading a message or making a statement. Regarding them, Katie said, “I liked seeing how creative people were.” The signs can also inspire or inform those who may be too busy to march or disinterested. Katie said, “Even if you weren’t in the march you could drive past and see the signs.” Some people choose to hold up their signs at integral parts of the speeches and nearly everyone had them up during the march itself. As the group walked to the Old State Capitol, many cars honked and gave thumbs up to show support. Other drivers chose to loudly rev their engines as they drove by, which was disruptive and showed how even if someone disagrees with the statement being made, they should continue to act respectful.
At the Old State Capitol, the crowd was energized and excited. The program was drawn to a close and everyone was given a chance to take pictures and mingle. The atmosphere was incredibly positive, with women lifting each other up and spreading confidence and enthusiasm. Overall, the event was successful with warm temperatures and sunny skies welcoming not only activists, but also regular citizens who simply wanted to support local women.