NASHVILLE, TN — More than 15,000 Tennesseans took to the streets of downtown Nashville on Saturday morning for the second annual Tennessee Women’s March.
Starting at Public Square and rallying at Bicentennial Mall, the crowd organized in support of myriad issues facing women. Signs championed topics ranging from reproductive rights and wage gaps to environmental justice and immigrant rights.
“Today’s demonstration was a testament to bringing the community together and kicking off yet another year for sustained action,” said Rep. Brenda Gilmore, chairwoman of event. “The enthusiasm and commitment we saw last year hasn’t faded. People are still deeply passionate about the values of equality and fairness.”
Prior to the march, more than 800 participants gathered at Tennessee State University’s Avon Williams campus for a conference on activism and civic engagement. Guest speakers lectured on topics including artivism, faith and spirituality, grassroots organizing, youth, legislative skills and issues, understanding elections, and a federal and gubernatorial candidate forum.
“Beyond simply showing support for women and the programs that help them succeed, we wanted to give participants the tools and training to effect meaningful change,” said Francie Hunt, executive director of Tennessee Advocates for Planned Parenthood. “The conference and march allowed attendees to foster a sense of belonging and be in a supportive space for learning. It’s heartening to see our community proactively moving forward with a vision of social change to support every woman, regardless of race, gender, socioeconomic status, disability or citizenship.”
Hunt said to the crowd: “Today’s movement was fueled by fierce love by and of our community. We are moving from resistance to persistence, anger to action, pink hats to politics. The feeling we’ve shared today is going to continue across time and grow across Tennessee and in the new year. 2018 will be the year we all joined forces and powered together.”
Events surrounding the march continued into the evening: Nashville’s Acme Feed and Seed hosted the official march after-party at 6 p.m. Performers included Michelle Branch, Divinity Roxx, Alanna Royale and Kate Tucker. Proceeds from the event benefited Planned Parenthood of Middle Tennessee.
Power Together Tennessee is the Tennessee chapter of the Women’s March, whose mission is to harness the political power of diverse women and their communities to create transformative social change. Women’s March is a women-led movement providing
intersectional education on a range of issues and creating entry points for new grassroots activists and organizers to engage in their local communities through trainings, outreach programs and events.