Chicagoans toughed out the cold yet again Saturday as thousands of protestors gathered at Grant Park (337 E. Randolph St.) for the third Chicago Women’s March.
The Chicago Women’s March is part of the national movement of annual marches that began in 2017 as a response to Donald Trump’s election and subsequent inauguration. While the name suggests the march may only focus on women, this isn’t the case. The national organization’s website states their mission is to fight for civil rights, disability rights, immigrant rights, LGBTQ rights and worker’s rights, among other issues.
This year’s march focused on a variety of issues including the upcoming census, gun violence, climate change and healthcare. Signs representing each issue were littered throughout the crowd as the protestors made their way down Adams Street in the Loop. While these issues don’t just affect women, many of the signs in the crowd displayed how they can disproportionately affect women.
The march also honored female elected officials, with the Chicago Women’s March website listing Illinois Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle as honorary “wayfinders” for the event, or those designated in the march to help marchers with disabilities.
These public figures led the march along with marchers with disabilities, who were part of the focus of this year’s march. Accessibility was heavily emphasized with the march having a dedicated entrance for marchers with disabilities and volunteers set aside to help them get through the march route.
Some Loyola students were at the march despite the morning drizzle and near-freezing temperatures. Mary Fletcher, a first-year student at Loyola studying exercise science, said the cold and rain weren’t an issue as she joined her friends for the march.
“I’m personally used to this weather,” Fletcher, 18, said. “It doesn’t really bother me at all and I’m all layered up so I think I’ll be fine.”
Caity Hess, a first-year student at Loyola studying nursing, was part of Fletcher’s group of friends that attended the march together, departing from the Granville CTA Red Line station near Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus. They were just a few of the many marchers who took advantage of the increased Red Line service that occurred between 4:00 AM and 3:00 PM on the day of the march.
Hess said she was also unphased by the inclimate weather and joined her friends on their venture to Grant Park.
“I’ve never been to a march before so I wanted to experience it,” Hess, 19, said. “And I’m all about female empowerment… so we’ll brave through [the weather] together.”