What to know about Saturday's women's march in Geneva

 
 
Updated 1/17/2019 5:32 PM
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  • Sue Sanders and Linda Robertson, right, were among a group of women who gave window posters to businesses on Third Street in Geneva this month to promote Saturday's Fox Valley Women's March. The march will close parking and traffic on the northern part of the shopping district for the morning.

      Sue Sanders and Linda Robertson, right, were among a group of women who gave window posters to businesses on Third Street in Geneva this month to promote Saturday's Fox Valley Women's March. The march will close parking and traffic on the northern part of the shopping district for the morning. John Starks | Staff Photographer

Geneva is gearing up for a Fox Valley Women's March that is expected to draw 1,000 or more people Saturday to the city's downtown.

With snow and cold in the forecast, city officials are urging participants to bundle up, arrive early and be aware of parking restrictions.

The outdoor event will begin with a 10 a.m. rally, followed by a march down Third Street, regardless of the weather.

"Tenacity, commitment and fortitude rule the day," organizer Mary O'Connor said. "There's no turning back."

The local march will coincide with a national event in Washington, D.C., along with hundreds of sister demonstrations across the globe celebrating the movement's third anniversary. The Women's March, first held in January 2017, is estimated to be the largest single-day protest in U.S. history.

Women's March Chicago organizers decided against putting on a 2019 march after holding a "March to the Polls" in October. Instead, the group is promoting an "Operation Activation" campaign, urging marchers to get involved locally.

The Geneva event is spearheaded by two local activist groups, the Kane County Coalition and We Can Lead Change -- Fox Valley, though several others also are involved.

O'Connor said organizers hope to give suburban residents an opportunity to collectively promote unity and spur local involvement.

The rally will take place in the parking lot of the Kane County Courthouse, 100 S. Third St. The space opens at 9 a.m.

Speakers will include U.S. Reps. Lauren Underwood, Sean Casten and Raja Krishnamoorthi, as well as state Reps. Karina Villa of West Chicago and Linda Chapa LaVia of Aurora.

Michelle Meyer, executive director of Mutual Ground, and Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns also are expected to speak.

Starting about 10:40 a.m., the West Aurora High School girls soccer team will lead the march along Third Street, from James Street to South Street.

Participants are encouraged to carry signs, but the placards cannot be attached to sticks or poles.

Third Street will be closed to traffic shortly before the march begins and will be reopened by noon, according to Geneva police. Parking will be prohibited on the 300 block of James Street, as well as along the march route, from 2 a.m. to noon.

Depending on the amount of snow, additional parking restrictions could go into effect along downtown streets, police Cmdr. Mike Frieders said.

Participants are encouraged to park in the Third Street commuter parking deck or public parking lots near the train station, all of which are free on weekends.

Additionally, organizers say Metra's Union-Pacific West line is adding three cars to Saturday's 8:40 a.m. outbound train to accommodate march attendees.

"It's a new event to this area, so there are some unknown factors in terms of the number of people and how the weather will play into it," Frieders said.

For more information on the march, visit the We Can Lead Change Facebook page at www.facebook.com/groups/wecanleadchange/.

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