Women's Marches Across The Country Will Focus On The Vote On the anniversary of the Women's March in Washington, D.C., organizers say marches this year are less about outrage and more about political organizing.

Women's Marches Across The Country Will Focus On The Vote

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

One year ago, tens of thousands of women in Washington, D.C., put on these pink knitted hats of solidarity, and they marched down Pennsylvania Avenue. Similar marches happened around the world in dozens of other countries. It was dubbed the Women's March, and it was about a lot of things. It was a rally against sexual violence. It was for reproductive rights and against gender discrimination of all kinds. But it was also decidedly a rally against the new president, Donald Trump. Now, a year later, the march is happening again. The marquee event this time, though, is in Las Vegas. It will happen this Sunday. NPR national correspondent Leila Fadel will be there, and she joins us now. Hey, Leila.

LEILA FADEL, BYLINE: Hi.

MARTIN: Presumably, this is still a political march against the Trump administration. So why is this happening in Las Vegas and not D.C.?

FADEL: Well, I think they wanted to leave the D.C. area and go out into the country. And local and national organizers that I spoke to called Nevada really a bright spot when it comes to national organizing. They said this is a purple state. They said in 2016 it went blue. It went to Hillary Clinton. The first Latina senator was elected here - Catherine Cortez Masto. Also there's a Republican governor, Republican incumbents. They want to highlight that type of work. They call it a bright spot - that type of political organizing. And they're also calling it a launch - that this will be the first on a tour around the country. Take a listen to Kelley Robinson of Planned Parenthood, a partner in the organizing of these marches.

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KELLEY ROBINSON: The same people that were rallying in airports across the country and marching in streets, they're now sitting in state legislatures all across the country making decisions on policy.

FADEL: She's referring to people like Ashley Bennett in New Jersey, who was a first-time candidate last year and ran against an opponent who mocked the Women's March, and Danica Roem in Virginia, who became the first openly transgender person to be elected to the Virginia General Assembly.

MARTIN: So they're saying that this march sparked a movement, which then has put women into positions of power - into governing positions. I want to ask, though, about diversity of the movement because the march last year got a lot of flak for being pretty homogenous - being predominantly a group of white, liberal women. Has the movement diversified?

FADEL: Well, definitely when you look at the organizing that's going on in Nevada - for example, I was at a sign-making event for Indigenous women who will be participating on Sunday. And there is an attempt to reach out to different faiths, to different races, to different classes, to different ages. But there isn't an attempt to reach across the aisle to the right side. The national organizers, a diverse group of women, say that they're resistance to the president. And so women who are on the right side of the political spectrum, who support this president, who maybe rally on issues of anti-abortion, they don't necessarily feel welcome at these marches.

MARTIN: You have been talking with some of the marchers who plan to attend the event - the march on Sunday in Vegas. What have you heard from them?

FADEL: Well, I asked listeners to send me notes about why they're marching. And we got hundreds of responses from women across the country - from Tulsa, Okla., to Kent, Ohio, to Anchorage, Alaska. And they say they're marching to be a visible force on everything from women's rights to the gender gap to the #MeToo movement to immigrant rights and rights of people of color. But the most common response was about making themselves into a powerful voice that elected officials will have to listen to. And I'll read you one response from Julie Albert of Anchorage, Alaska. She says, quote, "protections for the environment have been undermined. Racist and xenophobic policies have been proposed. This is an election year, and we have the chance to truly let our voices be heard."

MARTIN: NPR's Leila Fadel, she will be covering the Women's March - the marquee event happening in Las Vegas this Sunday. Leila, thanks.

FADEL: Thank you.

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