Sunday marks one year since the historic Women's March, when some 4 million people took to the streets in cities across the country to mark President Trump’s first day in office. The images of that day were iconic, from protest signs to the “sea of pink,” created by the knit hats, or “ pussyhats,” worn by participants.
One year later, organizers have decided to use the anniversary weekend to launch the next phase of their movement: a year-long effort to win key political races come November, called “ Power to the Polls.” The main kick-off event will take place in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Sunday.
That's not the only event happening. More than 300 towns and cities will hold their own anniversary marches and rallies over the weekend. Over 37,000 people are expected to attend the Women’s March in New York City on Saturday. To find an event near you, check out this map or this list of events on Facebook.
The weekend marks the start of the Women’s March “national voter registration and mobilization tour,” targeting swing states—like Nevada—to engage and register new and disenfranchised voters and elect more women and progressive candidates to office. They've set an ambitious goal to register 1 million people to vote by the end of the year.
“We have to take back the House and the Senate in 2018,” says Paola Mendoza, the artistic director of the Women’s March. “I feel [the elections in] 2018 will be even worse than 2016 if we don’t. That’s what dictated our choice to use the march anniversary toward something that’s tangible and creates change.”
Organizers tout Nevada as the perfect place for activists to make a big impact this year: it’s a key battleground state “that will shape the Senate in 2018.” Democrat Hillary Clinton won Nevada in 2016. In November, voters will decide whether incumbent Republican Sen. Dean Heller can hold onto his seat. They’ll also elect a new governor, as Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval comes to the end of his term.
Nevada is home to a strong activist and organizing network and has one of the fastest-growing Latino populations in the country. The Hispanic population in Nevada is the 14th largest in the nation: about 789,000 Hispanics reside in Nevada, or 28% of the state’s population, according to Pew Research Center. Some 17% of Nevada's eligible voters are Hispanic.
In 2016, the state elected Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, the first Latina ever to serve in the U.S. Senate. She is scheduled to speak at Sunday’s event.
And, organizers say: “Nevada has recent experience with some of the most pressing issues facing women in our nation today, from gun violence to politicians accused of sexual assault.”
Other speakers expected at Sunday’s Las Vegas event include: Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood; U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-GA); Alicia Garza, the co-founder of Black Lives Matter; Marisa Tomei, Oscar Award-winning actress; Maria Teresa Kumar, the president & CEO of VotoLatino, and; María Urbina, the national political director at Indivisible.
It’s just the first stop in the Women’s March swing state tour, which will also include states like Florida and Michigan in the coming months.