Colorado women’s marches are expected to draw thousands today. Will attendance top last year’s?
Author: Erin Prater - January 19, 2018 - Updated: January 31, 2018
Thousands of women and allies are expected to turn out this weekend for marches in Denver, Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Grand Junction, Steamboat Springs and other Colorado locales. Whether attendance will top last year’s totals — an estimated 100,000 in Denver alone — remains to be seen.
The number of those who have expressed interest in Saturday’s Women’s March on Colorado, to be held in Denver’s Civic City Park — 12,000 going and 31,000 interested as of Thursday, according to the event’s Facebook page — is already larger than last year, said organizer Cara Crifasi.
Last year’s crowd “appeared to at least rival or exceed the number of people who attended a victory rally after the Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl last year,” according to an AP photographer who covered both.
This year’s Denver march will begin at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at 1451 Bancock St. and will be preceded by a 9 a.m. pre-rally at Civic Center Park, according to the event’s website. A rally featuring speakers and activists will begin at 11:30 a.m.
Men, women, children and well-behaved dogs on leashes are all welcome, according to the website. Attendees are encouraged to create posters similar to those posted in a photo gallery, some of which feature slogans like “for the love of all women and humanity” and “a woman’s place is in the resistance.”
Speakers will include Ismahan Afrah, a 19-year-old college student and aspiring teacher whose parents hail from Somalia; Yudid Gonzalez, a Planned Parenthood supporter of Mexican descent who is inspired by “patriarchy smashers”; and Ana Rodriguez, an undocumented social worker who previously served as a legislative director for a Texas lawmaker, the website states.
Gov. John Hickenlooper attended last year’s march, but his schedule wouldn’t allow it this year. Lt. Gov Donna Lynne and a large portion of his Cabinet will attend, he said.
“The gathering last year had a certain emphasis that had a lot to do with President Trump coming into office,” Hickenlooper said. “There are different motivations this year.”
Last year “it was impressive to see the broad variety of women who were there from all walks of life marching in that sense of unity. I suspect we’re going to get the same this time.”
State Sen. Steve Fenberg, D-Boulder, attended last year’s march because he was “a little shocked at the election outcome and wanted to be a part of a community where we could take action and stand up for our values.”
He plans to attend this year’s march for similar reasons that are “in some ways more urgent,” he said.
“I think it’s more real now,” Fenberg told Colorado Politics. “We’re actually seeing policies and the impact of those policies on so many different issues.”
Saturday’s march is a chance to make a statement ahead of this year’s elections, he said.
“We as citizens, activists and elected officials can hopefully turn the tide a bit and mitigate some of the bad things we’re seeing coming from D.C.”
Speakers will include state Rep. Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo, a journalist-turned-politician and Pueblo’s first openly LGBTQ representative, and Zelna Joseph, executive director of the Pueblo YWCA.
Last year Esgar attended the march in Denver, which she called “so impactful.”
“I really felt this shift, that things might change,” she told Colorado Politics.
This year she’s “super excited to be able to share momentum with my hometown.”
“We’ve seen what the stroke of a pen can do and how it can change people’s lives in an instant,” she said. “We need to continue to march until all are treated fairly, all are treated equally, all are treated justly.”
As of Thursday, nearly 350 had expressed interest in the event via Facebook; nearly 200 had committed to attending.
Colorado Spring’s march, titled “Me, Too: The Womxn’s March on Colorado Springs,” will follow Sunday at 2 p.m. at Acacia Park.
More than 800 have committed to attending, according to the event’s Facebook page, and thousands have expressed interest. The event aims to “lift up the individuals and collective identities in our community who continue to be disproportionately marginalized and targeted for acts of violence,” according to the page.
Last year’s rally drew an estimated 7,000 attendees, making it one of the largest demonstrations ever in Colorado Springs, organizers contended.
Colorado Politics reporter Joey Bunch contributed to this report.