Saturday marked the first anniversary of President Donald Trump’s inauguration, and the day after marked one year since the largest worldwide protests in history—the Women’s March—which drew between 3 and 5 million people to the streets just in the United States. With the wound of the election still fresh, last year’s Women’s March focused heavily on speaking out against Trump and his anti-immigrant, anti-minority and sexist rhetoric. This week’s event took on a different agenda—getting women to the polls.
This year, the Washington, D.C.-based Women’s March organization looked to Las Vegas to host its flagship event, Power to the Polls, held at Sam Boyd Stadium. And while there were marches held around the country, Sunday’s Las Vegas rally kicked off a nationwide voter registration campaign focused on combatting voter suppression and targeting swing states to register new voters in time for the midterm elections. The event also took on a new, more progressive tone, addressing timely issues like sexual harassment and turning the conversation toward the necessary inclusion of women of color and marginalized communities like transgender people and immigrants.
In her invigorating speech, Women’s March co-chair Tamika Mallory spoke about combatting white supremacy within both the United States and the Women’s March movement, calling upon white women to listen to women of color and to vote on behalf of all women—not just on issues that matter to themselves. “Don’t come to this rally today and sit here with your pink hat on, saying that you’re with us when you’re nowhere to be found when black people ask you to show up,” she said to erupting cheers. “We have the power to change every policy and make every elected official work for us, but they cannot see division among us. We must stand up and be loud and be bold.”
Fellow co-chair Bob Bland echoed Mallory’s statements before additional speakers—legendary singer Cher among them—took to the stage. “A lot of us, particularly us white women, have a lot of catching up to do, and [we] are just waking up to the complicity and white supremacy this country was founded on,” Bland said. “Women of color are leading this movement ... and this is just the beginning.”