Women's March Fox Valley returns to Geneva Jan. 18
U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-Naperville), Republican Kane County State's Attorney Joe McMahon and teen activists from the local chapter of March For Our Lives are among those primed to encourage community members to get out the vote during this year's Women's March Fox Valley.
"It's important to bring people together right here in the Fox Valley," said march organizer Mary O'Connor of St. Charles. "We have Democrats speaking, we have Republicans speaking, but, most importantly, when we all stand together and march to the polls, it's the community that will be speaking -- and this community is ready to be heard."
The "March to the Polls"-themed event will kick off with a brief rally at noon Saturday, Jan. 18, behind the Kane County Courthouse, 100 S. Third St. in downtown Geneva. Marchers will then proceed down Third Street, which will be closed to traffic for the event. The march is open to all people, regardless of gender, race or beliefs, organizers said.
In addition to Underwood and McMahon, featured speakers will include U.S. Rep. Bill Foster (D-Naperville), state Rep. Karina Villa (D-Batavia), Michelle Meyer of Mutual Ground in Aurora, and March For Our Lives student representatives Hannah Paschke and Karoline Anthony, both of Geneva. Participants will be welcomed by Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns.
O'Connor said she is proud to announce that Risé D. Jones, co-founder of Elgin-based Hamilton Wings, an enrichment program that uses the arts to promote leadership and academic readiness for Fox Valley youth, will sing the national anthem prior to the speakers taking the stage.
"Risé Jones has accomplished so much with her volunteer work helping local children. We feel incredibly honored that she will share another of her gifts by inspiring us through song," O'Connor said.
Organizers said that while they are excited about the speakers who will kick off the march, the rally will not overshadow the purpose of the event, which is to "March to the Polls."
"The people will be there to march, and we know that," organizer Sue Sanders of St. Charles said. "The intention of our speakers is to inform us about issues that may be new to us and to get us pumped up to march. But what's most important is to help inspire marchers to follow through once the event is over by making sure we keep talking to our neighbors and encouraging everyone in our communities to vote."
The first Women's March Fox Valley 2019 was organized in just six weeks by a handful of volunteers from We Can Lead Change Fox Valley after a march planned for Chicago was canceled. Despite bitter temperatures and blustery conditions, more than 700 activists turned out last January to help inspire change and to find solidarity. March leaders hope to more than double that number in 2020.