Birmingham will lend its voice to the National Women’s March on Washington through a Sister March on Saturday Jan. 21 in Kelly Ingram Park. The march hopes to send a message of solidarity with the national march, particularly in light of the incoming Donald Trump presidential administration.
The march is scheduled for 2 p.m.-5 p.m.
Birmingham plays a significant role in demonstrations and marches, said Shanté Wolfe-Sisson, an organizer for the march’s Alabama chapter.
“[W]e would be remiss not to have a presence here in Birmingham because what we don’t talk about are women’s contributions to a lot of the civil rights that have happened in Alabama,” she said. “I think having this march and rally will serve as a thank you to those foot-sol-diers who came before us and encourage dreamers…young ones and those that are up-and-coming now…that we don’t need to stop and we need to keep moving forward.”
Like the national march, the Alabama chapter’s march will focus on raising awareness about several issues affecting women and their families.
“[W]e want to make sure that workers’ rights, LGBT rights, reproductive rights, are all maintained in the coming months and years,” said Wolfe-Sisson. “[W]e’re going to take this space on Saturday and in the coming months to demand that … that’s something that has to stay.”
The march’s platform also includes immigrant rights, disability rights, ending violence against women, and environmental justice, organizers said.
Many are anxious with the election of Trump, but the march will give an opportunity for people to voice concerns about the new administration which has already emboldened several anti-choice states to submit legislation barring abortion. Trump’s pledge to repeal the Affordable Care Act could also leave many women without proper reproductive healthcare, maternity services, or access to contraception.
“I think this is a critical moment in our political history,” Wolfe-Sisson said. “[I]t’s important to provide a space after a day that will be very taxing for a multitude of reasons for a lot of people.” Wolfe-Sisson said the march will act as a safe space for participants to “come and celebrate their unique identities as a w o m a n .”“I hope people take away the idea of what it looks like for everyone to come together as a unit and celebrate what we have accomplished in the past and what we will be doing in the future,” said Wolfe-Sisson, who also hopes the march will leave people “energized” and ready to call their representatives.
“People deserve to know what’s going on in their cities and their respective homes and wherever else they may be,” she said. “We just want people to know that they are entitled to ask their public servants to give them the constitutional right that we were afforded when that paper was made hundreds of years ago.”The National Women’s March on Washington was developed as a grassroots effort to protest the Trump administration and its policies. The organization has affiliate groups across the U.S.