The rumors are true: There is going to be a second Women’s March on Philadelphia!
The Women’s March on Philadelphia 2018 is taking place on Saturday, January 20. Like last year, marchers will convene around Logan Square, then march down the Ben Franklin Parkway toward the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where a stage will be set up for the rally part of the day. The rally is scheduled to start promptly at noon.
WLP’s Carol Tracy speaking at the Women’s March on Philadelphia 2018
Marchers should bring creative signs, comfortable shoes, and a good attitude. Everyone who attended the Women’s March on Philadelphia last year can tell you what a great day it was, from the march down the parkway, to the speakers, to the comraderie in the crowd.
Based on the Facebook event page and Eventbrite registrations (it is free, and you can do that here), organizers expect the crowd this year to be as big—or bigger—than last year, which drew approximately 55,000 people to the Ben Franklin Parkway.
- 10:30AM – Gather at Aviator Park/Logan Square
- 11AM – March from Logan Square to Eakins Oval
- 12PM – Rally with speakers and performers kicks off
“We expanded our team and we’re really proud of the program,” says Emily Cooper Morse, a lead organizer and founder of Philly Women Rally, Inc., the organization hosting the event. “We think people who attended last year are going to have a great time this year, and people are going to be really happy that they came to Philly.”
Here is our Q&A with Emily Cooper Morse about the Women’s March on Philadelphia 2018, lightly edited for clarity:
WLP: So, why a second march?
We feel like we’ve made some great strides in 2017, but equality isn’t going to happen overnight.
The same issues we marched for last year still very much exist. Women don’t get equal pay, we don’t have free reign to make decisions about our bodies–our bodies are so legislated, whereas men’s bodies are not. Just look at Senate Bill 3, it had to be vetoed by our governor because it passed! We’re revisiting a lot of the same issues because we’re still fighting for equality. We are not only not equal to men, but we’re not equal to each other.
So many citizen engagement groups popped up last year, and so many people who were active a bit before really came off the sidelines and got involved, starting Indivisible groups and meeting neighbors. So this year, we really wanted to highlight ordinary people. You know my story, I don’t do this for a living, at all, not even in the slightest. I just wanted to create this march. I knew [co-organizer Beth Finn] and met the other group of women. Philly Women Rally held forums throughout the year, and we haven’t given up.
WLP: What is this year’s theme?
The theme in three short statements: We resist. We persist. And we rise.
This all started with the resistance, spawned out of the results of the presidential election. The persistence part is the strides that we’ve made throughout the year since the election, and the “we rise” is an emphasis on us continuing to fight for equality, and also to encourage more women to run for office.
Right now, a record number of women are running for office. We’re advocating for that and we’re making sure everyone is registered to vote. Everyone should get out to vote in the primaries, and everyone should get out to vote in November.
We are registering people to vote at our march and rally. We wanted to have a combination of speakers that we didn’t get to speak last year because there wasn’t enough time, and we posted an open application for people to submit applications to talk about the ways people have made a difference in their own epicenters over the last year. So we really wanted to focus half our program on “ordinary people” so they can inspire other people who feel too timid to take that next step, and once they see, “You know, I’m not that different from that person, maybe I can do this, too.”
WLP: Is Philly Women Rally affiliated with other marches happening across the state or country?
No. We’re not associated with the national organization. We founded Philly Women Rally because the movement grew so quickly, and we needed the nonprofit status for hosting purposes, for things like permits and vendors. We worked in conjunction with the national organization, though mostly with the state chapter of the organization. We’ve always been our own organization, and we wanted to create something specific to issues and women in Philadelphia. We do all our own fundraising and planning on our own. We are registered on the national organization’s website where you can search for other marches. (According to the website, 14 sister marches are currently planned across Pennsylvania).
WLP: What can attendees expect? Will it be like last year with the march down the parkway and then a program on stage?
It’s going to be much shorter than last year! It was about 5.5 hours long last year. Part of that was because of our attempt to – there was just so many people we wanted to speak! But also, we recognize that it’s winter and people can only last so long standing on concrete in the cold. So we’ve drastically shortened our program time, it’s going to be less than half of last year. The goal is to be 2 hours. Realistically, it will be between two hours and fifteen minutes and two-and-a-half hours. The program is going to be split into three segments—we resist, we persist, we rise.
We think we’re going to start with resisters, then persisters, then risers.
WLP: Will you have performers this year?
Drum Like a Lady will kick of the march! They will lead us down the parkway again. We are so excited. The second we decided to have the anniversary event, LaTreice Branson, the founder of Drum Like a Lady, is the first person I reached out to. They will be performing at the rally, and kicking off the march. The Granny Peace Brigade and spoken word poets will also perform, and there will be at least one other musical performance. We’re still in the process of finalizing those decisions.
55,000 people attended the Women’s March on Philadelphia 2017
WLP: I saw lots of children last year. Do you recommend parents bring their kids?
For us at Philly Women Rally, we say every family is different. We encourage parents to do what they feel is comfortable for them. I personally will have my children with me, my twin 5-year-old boys and my 8-year-old daughter will be there. My daughter asked if she can join me on stage when I speak again, and I said yes. It’s important for me to show my children that when something’s not right and people aren’t being treated fairly or equally, that we step up and fight for equality.
WLP: What transportation options exist for people not in the Philadelphia area? Are there buses?
They should check Rallybus.net. We are an event on Rallybus.net, so people can look to see if there are buses already chartered, and we’ve also had a number of groups charter buses on their own. Last year we didn’t have any buses, or maybe one or two, so this year we’re expecting quite a lot.
WLP: How can people support the march, other than attending?
Spread the word! Also, being peaceful and donating money to cover the costs of the rally. Donations can be as little as $3. There are so many people on the Facebook Event page, that if one-tenth of those people donated just $5, the march is half-funded. Our average donation amount is around $13.50.
Remember: It’s important to register so organizers can be as prepared as possible!
The Women’s Law Project is a public interest law center in Pennsylvania devoted to advancing the rights of women and girls.
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