BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Women’s March will take to the streets of Downtown, congregating at War Memorial Plaza midday Saturday in another show of solidarity and strength for groups that have long felt marginalized in the political sphere and energized to claim their seats at the table.
“There are so many issues that impact not just women, but all of our allies and different communities, and it’s just so critical for us to be vocal, to be visible, to be in the streets, to have our voices be heard,” said Zainab Chaudry, the Director of Maryland Outreach at the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and one of the organizers of the march.
The event is set to begin with a rally from 11 a.m. to noon at War Memorial Plaza. From there attendees will march south on Holliday Street, east on Pratt Street, and then north on Gay Street back to the Plaza. Once back in front of City Hall, there will be spoken word presentations, youth essay contest winners, and “partner tables to get more involved,” according to theBaltimore Women’s March website. The event will conclude with a panel discussion titled, “Where Do We Go from Here?”
“We want to make sure that every single woman in Baltimore City feels that she is represented by the speaker line, up by the issues that we’re centering, the issues that we’re focusing on,” Chaudry said, “including criminal justice reform, including gender violence, including poverty, access to better education.”
With the March celebrating it’s third anniversary, some criticism has been leveled that marching and gathering does not equate to actual action or change, but Chaudry pushes back on that idea. She just needs to look back to November for evidence. With record numbers of women engaging in the political process, running for office, and successfully winning seats in government, from the local and state level on up to Congress, movements like the Women’s March and the ethos behind it have helped empower women and provide them the connections needed to create viable political power.
“Our strength is in our collective unity. Our strength is in our ability to come together, find commonalities, and engage with lawmakers," Chaudry said. "… A lot of people think that we are just one voice individually, but when you bring 1,000 different voices together, that doesn’t just become a strong voice, that’s a loud roar. It’s dangerous to underestimate the impact that every single individual has in shaping society, in shaping laws and legislation that impact us on so many levels of society. And we’re optimistic that this rally tomorrow, and more future demonstrations, will also encourage people to be engage, get involved, connect with individuals, community leaders, community organizers, elected officials, who can help them harness that angst and that frustration into positive energy to help them bring about substantial reform.