Fayette County

From the streets to the ballot box: NOW Women’s March Anniversary Rally speakers urge women to register voters, campaign and run for office

Alison Lundergan Grimes speaks at the Lexington Women’s March

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes speaks ‪at Lexington Women's March 2018 at Courthouse Plaza.
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Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes speaks ‪at Lexington Women's March 2018 at Courthouse Plaza.

More than 2,000 people massed in Lexington’s Courthouse Plaza on Saturday to hear that a year after the nationwide women’s marches that condemned the policies of Donald Trump, there’s still plenty of work to do.

The crowd was urged by speakers including Kentucky secretary of state Alison Lundergan Grimes and Mary Nishimuta, executive director of the Kentucky Democratic Party, to register more people to vote, encourage more women to run for office and to campaign vigorously for them.

“Marching is important … but we have to organize,” Nishimuta said. “We have to create a plan of action that takes us beyond the marches.”

No politician should make decisions about us without us.

Jenny Clay of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Indiana and Kentucky

Nishimuta said that Kentucky women live in a world where they are “fighting for our basic rights” — among them funding for public education, early voting, mandatory time for maternity leave, and increasing the number of people covered by health insurance.

Jenny Clay of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Indiana and Kentucky told the group that it was critical that they work toward influencing the outcomes of elections across the state: “No politician should make decisions about us without us.”

Grimes told each person in the crowd to raise their cellphone if they had one. When nearly every hand went up, she said, “You’ve just committed to register 10 new votes.”

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A woman held a sign during the NOW Women's March Anniversary Rally Saturday in Lexington. Matt Goins

Kelly Smith, who helped organize Kentuckians who went to Washington, D.C. for the national women’s march in January 2017, said her mantra for 2018 is “Replace and Repeal”: Replace the current crop of conservative politicians, and repeal their legislation.

Urban County Council member Angela Evans told the group that Christians are supposed to have compassion, rather than seek to deprive people of programs that help them lead better, healthier lives.

“We need to let our legislators know that we care about people,” Evans said.

Singer-songwriter Carla Gover got the crowd singing along with her song, “There’s A Hole Where Your Soul’s Supposed To Be,” a sardonic ode to Trump voters and legislators.

The crowd waved signs such as “What Would Carrie Fisher Do?” and “Females Are Strong As Hell,” a reference to the theme song from the TV series “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” Elle Keys brought a sign that said simply: “Trump made me an activist.”

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A dog sported a political sign during the Lexington women’s rally. Matt Goins

Willow Hambrick of Georgetown brought a sign proclaiming her a “Stable Nasty Woman,” a reference to President Trump’s calling himself “a very stable genius.”

Said Hambrick: “This year has been even worse than I could have imagined.”

Tuesday Meadows, president of the University of Kentucky LGBTQ Alumni Group, said that the focus has broadened from protest to strong action: “We need to elect better politicians. I have two granddaughters. I want the world to be a better place for them.”

Cheryl Truman: 859-231-3202, @CherylTruman

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