The Women's March is Back: Time to Take Our Power to the Polls
By Aprill O. Turner, Communications Director
On Jan. 21, 2017, the day after the inauguration of President Trump, the Women's March on Washington descended on the nation's capital to protest a new administration many Americans feared threatened their rights and contradicted their basic values.
This weekend marks the anniversary of the historic Women's March, the largest march in U.S. history. Tens of thousands of people will celebrate that anniversary this weekend at anniversary marches, rallies, and events across the country. This year organizers are mobilizing to kick off a national voter registration tour, entitled "The Power to the Polls", in an effort to turn work into action before the midterm elections. The main event will take place in Las Vegas, given that Nevada has become a battleground state in the 2018 election cycle.
They hope to register 1 million new voters and help elect more women and progressives to office.
The Campaign for Youth Justice stands together in solidarity with the Women's March organizers and participants across the country, and thanks them for their commitment to dismantling systems of oppression. We recognize that local elections matter, and will spend the next year raising awareness in states about local government and how their decisions directly affect our daily lives, especially when it comes to policing and public safety of our most vulnerable population, our children.
While an off- year election, the 2017 elections demonstrated that criminal justice reform can be a winning issue. In states such as Philadelphia, New Jersey, Virginia, and New York candidates won on platforms that proactively embraced criminal justice reform, shifting the narrative that rejects the old tough-on-crime politics for a new approach that is rooted in civil rights and redefining community safety.
For example, the Philadelphia District Attorney race generated an almost unheard of amount of press attention and enthusiasm for a local election, due in large part to the progressive candidate, civil rights attorney Larry Krasner's platform. He called for an end to "mass incarceration," and a number of state and federal policies that have put more than 2 million Americans behind bars. Krasner won in a blowout, according to the Associated Press, beating his Republican opponent Beth Grossman with approximately 75 percent of the vote.
The message is resonating--voters are scrutinizing their local criminal justice systems, and are realizing how much power these positions have. District Attorney's make the day-to-day decisions of what cases to pursue, what charges to press, and who gets a second chance.
The Women's March this weekend is a great way to kick off 2018 with the reminder that our voices, and our votes mater. We at CFYJ hope the drumbeat continues until November of local voters raising their voices. This represents tangible progress in the fight for a more humane and sensible justice system, one that strives to keep us safe while simultaneously treating people fairly.
Our children and our communities need us -- It's time to take it the polls.