First the streets, then the polls: Women’s marches to be held across Maine

One year after an estimated five million people across the world took part in the Women’s March, symbolizing the start of what has become known as The Resistance to President Donald Trump, the streets will be full once again this weekend and this time with the aim of taking on the entire Republican establishment and agenda.

Under the banner of March On the Polls, the anniversary events are focused on mobilizing people to vote in the upcoming midterm elections with the goal of flipping red seats to blue to secure Democratic majorities in the U.S. House and Senate.

In Maine, where an estimated 20,000 people participated in the Women’s March last year, there are a number of events planned across the state.

Organizers in Augusta are marching at the State House on Saturday “to let those deconstructing our democracy, decimating our laws and harming the people, animals and environment of our planet know we will continue to resist their agenda,” local Indivisible and Resistance groups as well as the Maine Democratic Party declared in the call to action.

In Bangor, where Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin is facing a hotly-contested race for his 2nd District seat, a march and rally  are being held to “celebrate the progress we’ve made and the efforts of the year,” according to the organizers, the Maine Common Goods Coalition and the Mabel Wadsworth Center.

And in Portland on Sunday, the natinonally-affiliated Women’s March- Maine is holding what they describe as a “performance and party” at the SPACE Gallery for “a much-needed celebration of the historic nature of the Women’s March, a moment to recommit and re-energize, and a recognition of local artists active in the resistance.”

According to national organizers, there are 389 such events being held across the country this weekend.

Criticisms that last year’s march had not been particularly inclusive and had failed to elevate minority voices or pay tribute to the diverse forces that had long led the fight for social justice help shape the focus of this year’s events, which will culminate with a “Power to the Polls” campaign launch and rally in Las Vegas on Sunday.

The rally will feature a diverse list of women of col speakers including: Social critic Melissa Harris-Perry; Alicia Garza, one of the founders of Black Lives Matter; and U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, among many others. Also, the event will kick off a “national voter registration tour” that organizers say will target swing states, register first-time voters and support progressive female candidates.

“Women’s March has created a powerful movement that has ignited thousands of activists and new leaders,” Tamika D. Mallory, co-president of Women’s March, said in a statement. “In 2018, we must turn our work into action ahead of the midterms. This new initiative will address voter registration and voter suppression head on. We marched for justice in D.C., we created our plan in Detroit and now we’re bringing the power of the polls to Nevada.”

“This campaign,” added Women’s March co-organizer Linda Sarsour, “will mobilize a new group of activists to create accessible power to our voting polls.”

An estimated 10,000 marched in Portland for the 2017 Women’s March. (Photo: Beacon Staff)

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