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Marching Into the Future of Progressive Women’s Leadership

Photos: Courtesy of Kisha Bari

There are currently 472 women running for Congress in 2018. Add to that number at least 57 women running for the Senate and 78 likely running for governor. Not only are these record numbers of female candidates, they’re women of color, LGBTQ+ individuals, married women and single women, veterans and immigrants. They’re American women, in all sizes, shapes and shades.

A seat at the table

“We can expect the women running for office to play by their own rules,” says Teresa Shook, founder of the Women’s March. “These grassroots candidates are standing up for issues important to women and families — paid family leave, gun violence, education, equal pay, health care, reproductive rights. They are embracing their diversity… they own it.”

“They don’t have to ask for permission from men and they don’t have to apologize for having platforms that are boldly progressive and rooted in equity and justice,” adds Tamika D. Mallory, the March’s national co-chair. A year after the March on Washington, the Women’s March announced Power to the Polls, a new initiative geared towards mobilizing the surge of civic momentum towards positive political change. “This is the promise of the Women’s March,” shares Bob Bland, co-chair of the March. “For people to hear our voice, not just in the street, but at the polls. And then in elected office.”

Play your part

But this promise relies on American citizens staying engaged through the midterms, which historically have low voter turnout. “If folks don’t know the importance of midterm elections, we need to change our communications strategies,” says Carmen Perez, another national co-chair of the March. “Trump couldn’t wreak as much havoc without the house and the senate behind him. We need to strip him of that power by turning over these seats. And we need to lay the groundwork for our progressive 2020 president by providing the support system they need in Congress.”

Emily Gawlak, [email protected]

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