Organizers say 300K descend on downtown Chicago for Women's March January 20 2018 Ese Olumhense and Angie Leventis Lourgos Chicago Tribune The women of Chicago came out in force once again, with an estimated crowd of 300,000 rallying for equal rights – and against the Trump administration – at the second Women’s March Chicago on Saturday. “The energy we saw throughout the year and continuing through today demonstrates once and for all that we are experiencing a resurgence in the women’s movement,” said organizer Jessica Scheller. “Only time will tell how much we can accomplish through it.” Last year’s event unexpectedly shut down parts of the Loop with what organizers said was a quarter-million participants flooding Grant Park the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration. While some wondered if momentum might wane over time, many marchers said cultural movements like the #MeToo and Time’s Up campaigns against sexual misconduct – as well as Trump’s policies – only increased their fervor this year. “I’m marching for the women before us, the women of today and the women of the future,” said Lindsey Vaught Kerr, 29, of the Roscoe Village neighborhood, who carried a hand-made sign that read “We won’t stop until it rains glass.” The event, dubbed March to the Polls, was held in solidarity this weekend with hundreds of similar marches in Washington D.C. and across the globe that are projected to draw millions. Organizers said the focus this year has shifted from resistance against the Trump administration to influencing upcoming local, state and midterm elections. They estimated some 300,000 attended Saturday’s rally and march in downtown Chicago, exceeding last year’s attendance. City officials wouldn’t release official numbers Saturday. Hundreds of marchers, many wearing the event’s signature pink knit hat, began lining the perimeter of Grant Park before programming was scheduled to begin—and before the rally area was even open at 9 a.m. The weather was chilly but sunny with clear skies as music pulsed from the stage. Eighty-year-old Sandra Whitmore of Northbrook came with her four children. She said she’s been attending protests since her first in 1968 in San Francisco. The experience then was so intoxicating, Whitmore said, that she’s attended dozens of protests in the five decades since. Her sign read: “My arms are getting tired from hold’n this sign since the 1960s.” Cast members from “Hamilton” and Second City’s “She the People” made appearances. Speakers included Democratic politicians such as Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer and City Clerk Anna Valencia. “I am female. I am Latina. I am queer,” actress Monica Raymund of the TV show “Chicago Fire” told the crowd, drawing cheers. “I am their worst nightmare. And so are you. And that’s OK, we’ll be fine.” Officials from the Chicago Foundation for Women, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and Emily’s List also addressed the crowd. “This year is simple. This year is about right versus wrong,” said speaker Tom Steyer, a billionaire activist funding a drive to impeach Trump. “The United States of America is not going to go backward.” Transgender activist Channyn Lynne Parker talked about growing outrage at sexism in the work force. “For every woman who has had to fend off sexual harassment in the workplace, claw her way to the top and fight for equal pay, no more,” she said. Groups and individuals sponsored portable restrooms labeled with signs that said “S**HOLE,” a slightly coy nod to Trump’s alleged comments about immigrants, describing Haiti, El Salvador and African nations this month. “When the government shuts down, women still march,” event emcee Fawzia Mirza told the crowd, referring to the partial federal government shutdown that began Saturday. A little after noon, throngs of marchers chanting “we lead with love” and “this is what democracy looks like” started to slowly make their way from Grant Park to Federal Plaza. The city closed several streets from late Friday to Saturday evening in anticipation of the march, with Metra and the Chicago Transit Authority providing extra service to accommodate the crowds. Even at 8 months pregnant, Chloe Pedersen of Brookfield said she had to take part. “I couldn’t not go. It’s too important,” she said, and then motioned to her belly. “Certainly if there’s a little girl in here, I want her to know I was here today.” Lisa D’Angelo of Evanston said she slipped on a patch of ice and broke her left leg a few days before the event, but borrowed a wheelchair from a friend so she could join the march. “People need to still come out,” she said. Charity Weishar, of the Edgewater neighborhood, marched for the first time because she was overseas during last year’s event and had to experience the 2017 rally second-hand on social media. “The energy here is electric. It’s like a big warm hug,” she said. By early afternoon, pink hats dotted the Loop as the marchers began to disperse. Some left their signs along Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive, visible to traffic and passersby. One was written by a 5-year-old boy named Liam, who scrawled “No Trump Noooo. You ar bad” in crayon. “We remain incredibly proud of the women of the city of Chicago who continue to demonstrate this city is a thought leader in the civil rights movement,” Scheller said. “Chicago has a long and storied history of activism and what we saw today was a continuation of that proud history.” Read original article here.