A year after the first rally in 2017, Williamsburg will be holding its second Women’s March on Jan. 20.
Last year’s Williamsburg Women’s March drew a crowd of 700 people. They were part of five million people protesting around the world that weekend. Elizabeth Polster, a co-organizer of this year's Williamsburg Women’s March, said last year’s local rally was organized on the fly, and only a few people were expected to show up. She and others were surprised to see a large turnout.
This year’s Williamsburg march is co-organized by the groups Common Ground Williamsburg, which Polster is a member of, and Williamsburg JCC Indivisible. Organizers have spent more time advertising the event, and expect to draw a crowd of 2,000 to 2,500.
The Women’s March is a national movement and there will be other rallies across the country this weekend. One of the largest will probably be the rally held in Las Vagas.
While the event is called the “Women’s March” and organized by women, Polster said anyone is welcome to come.
“Let’s take the idea of feminism, that people are equal regardless of gender,” Polster said. “We’re stressing the idea of equality regardless of gender.” Polster added the march is about more than just gender rights.
“The mission of the 2018 March is to bring people together to reaffirm a shared commitment to issues that deeply impact all people, including women’s rights, immigrant rights, worker rights, reproductive rights, LGBTQIA rights, environmental rights, rights for all races, and religious and intellectual freedom,” read a statement from Common Ground Williamsburg. “The March will celebrate the core American values of freedom and democracy at a time when they are threatened.”
Polster said her group Common Ground Williamsburg formed after the last year’s Women’s March. She said rather than focusing on national dissent against the government, the group wanted to work on improving its own community. Polster said people decided “to get on their feet and do something” instead of “just complaining.” The group held meetings, canvased for Pam Northam and got active in their community.
“To see everyone come together a year later still working is so inspiring,” Polster said. “To see so many people just from our little town come together is exciting for me.”
Official speakers for this year’s Williamsburg Woman’s March are Elaine Luria, a candidate in the second Congressional district and Del. Mike Mullin, D-93rd, Ryan Sawyers, a candidate in the first Congressional district and Shelly Simonds, who was the 2017 candidate for delegate in Virginia’s 94th district.
Want to attend the Williamsburg march?
The march will begin at 3 p.m. at the Colonial Courthouse on Duke of Gloucester Street. The group will head east to the capital building and then loop around to Duke of Gloucester Street, ending somewhere around Merchant’s Square.
Parking is available at the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor's Center on 101 Visitor Center Dr. From there you can purchase a $2 shuttle ticket which will bring you to the historic area.
Want to attend the D.C. march?
There is a bus going from Virginia Beach to the D.C. march. The bus will leave Virginia Beach at 5 a.m., stop by Norfolk at 5:30 a.m. then depart from Norfolk at 5:40 a.m., and reach D.C. by about 9 a.m. The bus will return south at 4 p.m.
The bus costs $65 a person to ride. For more information, you can visit the Facebook event page.
Amelia Heymann can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on twitter @HeymannAmelia.