March to the Polls draws thousands to Chicago

 
Updated 10/13/2018 6:12 PM
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  • A participant in Saturday's March to the Polls listens to a speaker at a rally in Grant Park.

    A participant in Saturday's March to the Polls listens to a speaker at a rally in Grant Park. Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times

  • Chicago resident Alex Almanza, 18, listens during a rally ahead of the Women's March to the Polls on Saturday.

    Chicago resident Alex Almanza, 18, listens during a rally ahead of the Women's March to the Polls on Saturday. Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times

  • Thousands marched through the streets of Chicago Saturday for the March to the Polls.

    Thousands marched through the streets of Chicago Saturday for the March to the Polls. Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times

  • Chicago resident Alex Almanza, 18, listens during a rally ahead of the Women's March to the Polls on Saturday.

    Chicago resident Alex Almanza, 18, listens during a rally ahead of the Women's March to the Polls on Saturday. Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times

  • Thousands marched through the streets of Chicago for the March to the Polls Saturday.

    Thousands marched through the streets of Chicago for the March to the Polls Saturday. Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times

Chicago Sun-Times

Thousands gathered in Chicago Saturday for the "March to the Polls," with organizers pushing for participants to help get out the vote ahead of the Nov. 6 election.

Speakers at a Grant Park rally before the midday march addressed the importance of voting, income inequality, gun violence, women's rights and education affordability. A student from Marjorie Stoneman-Douglas High School in Florida, the site of a deadly mass shooting in February, also spoke.

Arlington Heights resident Ayah Jaber, 19, said she marched -- and voted -- because "the only way to create change is to rally and vote."

"I think it's true (that younger people don't vote) and I try to advocate for voting and getting my friends to vote," Jaber said. "It's important to show what you believe in by getting involved in grass-roots organizations. They have a big impact."

Nonprofit, and not specifically endorsing candidates, organizer Women's March Chicago has major donors including the Chicago Federation of Labor and Democratic governor candidate J.B. Pritzker's campaign.

"We're here to bring change for future generations," Pilsen resident Frances Valez said. With Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation, "The government just showed -- again -- that it sees women as 'less than.' We can't take that."

Massachusetts Democratic U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton were beamed into the rally via prerecorded messages.

In the "voter village," people signed up to canvass for politicians running for office and grabbed $10 balloon caricatures of President Donald Trump depicted as a baby in a diaper, modeled after a giant float that was anchored in Grant Park. Funds went toward the costs of the march.

It was the third Women's March in Chicago. Roughly 250,000 marched through the city shortly after President Donald Trump's inauguration and an estimated 300,000 participants joined the second annual march in January.

•This report was produced in partnership with the Chicago Sun-Times. For related coverage, check chicago.suntimes.com.

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