Calling themselves the "Bloomington-Normal Resistance," dozens of local women are planning to take to the streets at this Saturday's March to the Polls in Chicago.
Heartland Community College communications Professor Karla Huffman participated in the Women's March on Washington, D.C., last January following Donald Trump's inauguration. She will travel to Chicago for the demonstration planned for Saturday.
She said the marches planned throughout the country this year are aimed at getting women to the polls.
"The idea is to take that passion we all had (last year) and get really engaged and involved in our local, midterm, and gubernatorial elections here in 2018," Huffman said.
Within local politics, women have come farther than could have been expected a year ago when the Trump election first galvanized their activism, Huffman said.
"I am heartened by the involvement of women who are stepping up to run for offices and to help other women get elected, and I am happy about the men that have stepped up to run for offices who are pro-equal rights and reproductive rights and want to see a progressive platform," she added.
More than a hundred local women traveled to D.C. last year for the women's march, and dozens more participated in marches in Chicago and Springfield, Huffman said.
In addition to Saturday's march in Chicago, women's marches are also planned in Springfield, East Peoria, Rockford, Rock Island, Carbondale, Galesburg, Naperville and Kankakee.
In Bloomington-Normal, the Trump election sparked an outpouring of activism. Groups such as Indivisible 13, Indivisible 18 and Voices of Reason, which have focused on issues such as health care, child welfare, and immigration rights, started up through largely the efforts of women.
First-time women candidates dominated the Normal Township election last year. In that election, all but one of the winners were women. The township elected its first openly gay women, and the first African-American woman was elected to the Normal Town Council.
The upcoming county board election includes several female candidates, including the first Asian-American woman to seek local office.
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