In the final days of a historic election season, young women linked arms Saturday with their mothers and matriarchs for the 2020 Women’s March through downtown Baltimore.
About 200 people gathered outside the federal courthouse in the 100 block of W. Lombard St. for the event, which has been held annually for about three years. Conceived during the presidency of Republican Donald J. Trump, the progressive grassroots movement has transitioned its battle cry of “resist” in 2017 to “dissent” in 2020 — emphasizing the role of women voters in the Nov. 3 election.
Organizers of the Baltimore event included representatives of Baltimore Women United, NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland and Planned Parenthood.
Women United co-chair Odette Ramos said organizers had three messages for the community Saturday: make a plan to vote, tell U.S. senators to delay any confirmations to the U.S. Supreme Court until after the January presidential inauguration, and volunteer to place phone calls to swing states leading up to the general election.
Other women’s marches were held Saturday in dozens of U.S. cities, including Washington, New York and San Francisco.
The Baltimore event attracted dozens of women spanning multiple generations, some of who said they marched for their mothers or daughters. Some wore pink, knit hats and held homemade signs stating “Make America better” and “Not voting is not a protest, it’s surrender.”
Ramos wore a black mask with a white fringe — an homage to the signature lace collars worn by the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — that she said her mother made for her.
Young women, in particular, represented a significant portion of those in attendance.
Elizabeth Polydefkis spent her 18th birthday Saturday marching alongside her mom to City Hall. The act of protest was “empowering,” she said.
“I’m scared for our democracy with Trump,” Polydefkis said. “Women have worked really hard for their rights. I’ve seen a lot of that work eroded in the past four years.”
As the trail of activists wound through downtown, drivers honked horns in support. One driver, who was stopped at a red light, rolled down her car window and joined in the chants to “vote him out.”
Kori Christian, a Pikesville resident, had never attended a protest before this weekend. When a friend invited the 25-year-old to the march, she said to herself, “It’s time.”
Christian hoped the march Saturday would serve as foreshadowing of women turning out to the polls to vote Trump out of office, she said.
“I’m honestly nervous,” she said of the election. “So many people are blinded. That’s why I’m out there today. He’s really unfit to be president … again.”
The crowd arrived at City Hall and listened to speakers such as 17-year-old Noureen Badwi of Baltimore County Youth Speaks. The teen called on her peers to consider how the rights of women will be affected by outcome of the election.
“It is my hope that my generation of young people … continue to build on the momentum of social justice movements that we grew up with,” she said.
“Until then, it will take all of us joined together marching, dissenting and voting. We will not be patient and we will keep fighting.”
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