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Women’s March withstands unfavorable weather

Published: Saturday, January 18, 2020 @ 7:54 PM

            Despite the rainy weekend weather, people gathered at Courthouse Square in Downtown Dayton Saturday, January 18, for the 2020 Dayton Women’s March. Staff photo / Sarah Franks
            Sarah Franks
Despite the rainy weekend weather, people gathered at Courthouse Square in Downtown Dayton Saturday, January 18, for the 2020 Dayton Women’s March. Staff photo / Sarah Franks(Sarah Franks)

November’s presidential election was at the forefront of speeches given Saturday at Dayton Women’s March at Courthouse Square.

With Saturday’s dreary, wet weather, the Women’s March 2020: Dayton Rally was dramactically smaller — about 150 people attended — than recent years’ Women’s Marches in Dayton. The first local Women’s March in 2017, held the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, surpassed 3,000 participants, organizers estimated.

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The 2018 rally drew about 2,000 attendees, said organizers. Last year’s local rally was canceled because of a severe snowstorm. This year organizers said they were thankful for the passionate men and women who showed up Saturday and toughed out the conditions.

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Desiree Tims, who is running for the Democratic nomination to challenge U.S. Rep. Mike Turner in 2020, said the Women’s March is about women coming together in Dayton and also across the country.

“Women are rising, and we’re engaging in politics at every level,” Tims said. “That includes activism, that includes running for office and ensuring that we have a seat at the table. It’s so critically important that women are included in these conversations along the way, and I don’t think that we have been taken serious in terms of our power and the ability we have to be successful.”

Huddled under umbrellas and rain jackets, half a dozen or so speakers addressed the rally.

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“Basically the March is bringing together women to unify, and bring to the forefront the issues that are near and dear to our hearts as women, but also all of human kind,” said Liz Stutzman of Dayton’s Women’s Resistance and one of Saturday’s organizers. “It could be immigration, gun control, reproductive health and rights, health care, LGBTQ issues, climate change — it’s across the board.”

Volunteers from a few different organizations were at the rally to register voters, and members from the Ohians for Gun Safety organization were collecting signatures for a law to require background checks for private gun purchases.

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“Numbers matter,” said Sue Elam of Dayton. “People need to understand that. The large majority of people are not happy with what this administration is doing. The only way they seem to notice that is if we show up to things like this. Although it’s a crappy day and nobody really wants to be out here and a lot of people aren’t, you got to do what you got to do.”

In addition to Tims, a number of local elected officials were also in attendance, voicing their position on issues that will be topics of debate going into this year’s election.

“Women, not just in our community, not just in the state, but throughout the country are the backbone of a strong community, and I’m here to support and each and every woman,” said Brandon McClain, Montgomery County recorder. “Women have the same rights. Women lead from the front, and I’m here to support that.”