PITTSBURG - Last year, five million people took to the streets to participate in the Women’s March. Rallies to demand social justice were held worldwide, with a flagship march in Washington DC. It was the largest coordinated protest in United States history and one of the largest in world history.

On Jan. 20, they will march again. Rallies will be held throughout the United States and abroad in support of the Women’s March mission to harness the political power of diverse women and their communities to create transformative social change.

The Southeast Kansas chapter of the National Organization for Women (SEK NOW) is organizing a local event at 1 p.m. on Jan. 20. Participants will meet at Pittsburg State University in front of Russ Hall. They will then march to Pritchett Pavilion, located on the corner of Broadway and 2nd Street, where the rally will be held. Organizers are encouraging those unable to participate in the walking portion of the march to meet at the Pavilion for the main event.

Speakers at the rally will include: State Representative Monica Murnan, Pittsburg City Commissioner Sarah Chenoweth, former State Representative Julie Menghini, PSU Students for Violence Prevention Coordinator Ali Smith, PSU Assistant Professor of English and Women’s and Gender Studies Sandra Cox, Safehouse Crisis Center Shelter Advocate Stephanie Spitz, and community organizer Cynthia Hernandez.

“The 2018 march will show that our movement is not simply a knee-jerk reaction but is a deeply rooted paradigm shift and that we will not stop fighting for justice,” said Megan Stoneberger Johnson, a Pittsburg resident. “We will make our voices heard nationwide and here at home.”

Many Pittsburg residents traveled to the flagship march in Washington D.C,. or to regional rallies for the Women’s March 2017. This year, many of the same participants are planning to attend the Women’s March 2018 in Pittsburg.

“I had the tremendous opportunity to travel with a fantastic group of women from all around Kansas to the Women’s March in Washington D.C. last year, “ said Cheryl Mayo, a Pittsburg resident. “It was a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget. However, I am as equally excited to participate in the March on a more local level this year. I feel it is very important to have as many people as possible experience and participate in this, especially given our present climate and I want to be part of that.”

“I wasn’t able to travel to Washington DC last year so I attended the protest in Kansas City,” said Kris Maun, a Pittsburg resident. “It was an inspiring event and I am excited for that commitment towards positive change in our community and our country to be taking place in Pittsburg this year.”

The theme of the Women’s March 2018 in Pittsburg is #MeToo to show solidarity with survivors of sexual harassment and sexual assault.

Social activist Tarana Burke first used the hashtag in 2006 to build solidarity among survivors of sexual harassment and assault. In 2017, women in entertainment began reporting pervasive abuse throughout the industry with the hashtag #MeToo. The message spread beyond Hollywood and became a rallying cry for women and men throughout the country to begin sharing their own experiences of sexual harassment in the workplace. TIME magazine named the #MeToo movement as the its Person of the Year 2017.

“We want to march in solidarity with survivors of sexual assault and sexual harassment,” said Deborah Ball McGeorge, secretary of SEK NOW. “We want to visibly and publicly show support to any person who has endured this, whether they have come forward with their #MeToo story or not.”

Event Information:

Women’s March 2018

Saturday, Jan. 20

1 to 3 p.m.

From Russ Hall, 1701 South Broadway, Pittsburg to Pritchard Pavilion, 106 W. 2nd Street, Pittsburg

https://www.facebook.com/events/940756792745228/

About SEK NOW:

SEK NOW is leading grassroots action within the community to make positive change. Members are focused on six priority issues: constitutional equality, reproductive rights and justice, racial justice, LGBTQ rights, ending violence against women, and economic justice. The group meets on the first Wednesday of the month at 6:00 p.m. at the Pittsburg Public Library. The group is open to all supporters of women’s issues and equality for all.