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Hundreds join Southern Illinois Women's March

  • A woman holds a "March to the Polls" sign during the Southern Illinois Women's March in Carbondale. Hundreds turned out from across the region to participate.

    A woman holds a "March to the Polls" sign during the Southern Illinois Women's March in Carbondale. Hundreds turned out from across the region to participate.
    Pete Spitler/Du Quoin Call

  • A young boy waves an American flag while perched on the shoulders of his mother during the Southern Illinois Women's March on Saturday in Carbondale.

    A young boy waves an American flag while perched on the shoulders of his mother during the Southern Illinois Women's March on Saturday in Carbondale.
    Pete Spitler/Du Quoin Call

  • The Rev. Sarah Richards, of Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship, speaks to the crowd at the Carbondale Civic Center, the starting point for the Southern Illinois Women's March.

    The Rev. Sarah Richards, of Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship, speaks to the crowd at the Carbondale Civic Center, the starting point for the Southern Illinois Women's March.
    Pete Spitler/Du Quoin Call

  • Darryl Clark (center), of Carbondale, one of the cheer-leaders of the Southern Illinois Women's March, leads a chant at the start of the march.

    Darryl Clark (center), of Carbondale, one of the cheer-leaders of the Southern Illinois Women's March, leads a chant at the start of the march.
    Pete Spitler/Du Quoin Call

 
By Pete Spitler
pspitler@localsouthernnews.com
updated: 1/22/2018 10:05 AM

They marched around the country and around the world, and hundreds of people from around the southern Illinois region marched in the Southern Illinois Women's March on Saturday.

Carbondale's event joined hundreds of others across the globe and occurred on the one-year anniversary of the inauguration of President Donald Trump.

While the event, organized by the Women Un1ted Network, had the theme of "March to the Polls," its participants donned picket signs sporting a variety of causes - including planned parenthood, LGBTQ rights, breast cancer awareness, immigration, labor union supporters, gender equality and anti-Trump slogans.

"One of our main goals is to have women become more involved in political action and have our voices heard in politics," said Liz Hunter, one of the founders of the Women Un1ted Network.

Hunter said last year's Women's March, which kickstarted the women's movement nationally, was the inspiration for the creation of her organization.

In the year since, Women Un1ted has held vigils for Syria and Charlottesville, sent letters and postcards to legislators and hosted "a day with our woman."

"Since then, we have been planning and working on making ourselves a legitimate organization that will continue to do work in the community," Hunter said.

Hunter publicly acknowledged that the reasons people were in attendance for the rally were different for each person.

"You may have a different reason for being here than you do," Hunter said, pointing to different people in the crowded Carbondale Civic Center. "And the next guy and the next woman may have a different reason."

Hunter said the theme is to encourage people to vote this November, which corresponded to one of the march's chants - "March in January, vote in November."

"Make sure we are voting for the people we want to put in office who care about the things we care about," Hunter said to cheers from the crowd. "Women are underrepresented in our government, women are underheard in our government and people across the country and probably across the world (Saturday) are saying 'we are here and you must listen to us.'"

Hunter also noted Doug Jones' upset victory over Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate race.

"You saw it in Alabama," Hunter said. "Doug Jones won, nobody thought it would happen. African-American women made that happen."

The event also included speakers and a concert at Hangar 9.