Geneva group hoping to double attendance at 2020 Women's March

Updated 10/23/2019 1:06 PM

More than a thousand people are expected to come together early next year for the second annual Women's March in Geneva.

The city council this week unanimously passed requests for street closures and city services during the march, set for Jan. 18.


We Can Lead Change Fox Valley, a grass-roots group that began after the Women's March in January 2017, is planning its second event in Geneva and hopes to double last year's crowd that topped 700.

The march will begin at noon with a rally and speeches at the Kane County Old Court House on James Street. Marchers will travel north on 6th Street, east on State Street walking only on the sidewalks, and south on 3rd Street.

A separate resolution, required because Route 38 is a state highway, was needed to allow use of the State Street sidewalks.

"We're very happy the City of Geneva is backing our march," We Can Lead Change member Sue Sanders said. "They gave us a nice route."

Chicago was among the cities worldwide that participated in the first Women's March on Jan. 21, 2017, the day after the inauguration of President Donald Trump. When the Fox Valley group realized Chicago wasn't hosting a march last January, members put together the walk in Geneva.

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"We got it done in six weeks," Sanders said.

Nearly 700 people, "from babies to seniors," attended on a very cold day, she said. Five girls from a local high school cross country team led the march.

Candidates running in area elections liked having the event in the Fox Valley, Sanders said, and families didn't have to travel far.

"We want to keep it local," she said.

The theme for 2020 is "Get out and vote."

There's a lot of energy for the 2020 Women's March, Sanders said, and organizers are planning for a much larger crowd.

The noon start is later than last year and the rally portion of the event will be half as long. Speeches will be kept to 15 minutes.

"It's too cold for speeches," Sanders said.


The walk, however, is a longer route than last year.

Organizers say the entire event will last about an hour.

Alderman Jeanne McGowan, who participated in last January's march, said it was good to see a diverse group of people coming together.

She said the theme of getting people to the polls is an important one.

"Society as a whole is better with informed voters," McGowan said.

Last year's march also helped the city's economy, she said -- all the coffee shops were full before and after the march.

"It would be great to continue (the march) in Geneva as an annual event," she said

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