CHICAGO, Illinois, December 18, 2019 Women's March Chicago ( WMC ) announced several exciting new changes and additions to its upcoming January 2020 Anniversary March in Grant Park during a press conference today at City Hall.
The event which kicks off at 11 a.m. on Saturday January 18 will feature a March, but will replace its traditional rally format with a "Gallery of Issues" experience that marchers will interact with while on the go.
Additionally, WMC will honor its marchers with disabilities by having them lead the March through the streets of downtown to Federal Plaza. WMC will also introduce a new "Wayfinder Program," where volunteers will direct and accompany marchers needing assistance.
After a planned hiatus in January 2019, "Women's March Chicago is back in action and ready for 2020," said Graciela Guzm Ãˇ n, WMC board member. "Once again, Chicago-area women and their allies will gather en masse and raise their voices for the causes that matter to them most. This year we created a 'Gallery of Issues' that participants will experience as they march block by block along the route. Due to Chicago's unpredictable weather, we wanted our marchers to learn, mobilize and activate while on the move."
Selecting from a myriad of progressive issues, WMC chose five critical topics: the 2020 Census ; climate change ; gun violence prevention ; women's health rights and access ; and Get Out The Vote actions. During this lively and interactive experience, WMC and partner organizations will cheer on marchers, display banners and signage, engage in text message campaigns, hand out branded swag and more.
"Because our marchers care about a multitude of causes, a comprehensive list of resources related to the five issues and many others will also be added to our website in the weeks ahead," Guzm Ãˇ n added. "People can continue to activate and mobilize throughout the year."
WMC will also offer an all-new accessibility program for its marchers with disabilities. Previously, people who needed assistance traversing the March route had to bring their own companions.This year, people can sign on as "Wayfinder" volunteers ( womensmarchchicago.org/volunteer ). Wayfinders will provide companion-type services such as giving directions, clearing pathways, walking alongside marchers with disabilities, and escorting them back to transportation hubs and meeting points for their return trips home.
"We want every participant to be focused on the common goals that unite us, and not worrying about things like knowing where to go," said Rachel Arfa, an attorney and accessibility advocate who spoke at the press conference.
Grant Park will open at 9 a.m. on March day. Persons with disabilities will enter at Monroe Street and Columbus Drive and will be directed to a designated Accessible Gathering Area. The general March entrance will be located at Columbus Drive and Ida B. Wells Drive.
—From a press release