Chicago hosts second Women’s March of 2020 to rally voters and protest Trump’s Supreme Court appointment

“Not the church! Not the state! Women must decide our fate!” protestors screamed through masks. (Caroline Catherman/MEDILL)

By Caroline Catherman, Shivani Majmudar & Grace Rodgers
Medill Reports

Less than three weeks before the 2020 presidential election, Chicago joined cities across the country to host an unprecedented second Women’s March in a single year. Hundreds marched to oppose the Trump Administration, including their controversial nomination to fill the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s seat.

The Saturday in-person march, called “Vote. March. Dissent.”, began at the Chicago Federal Center Plaza at 11:00 a.m. Organizers asked protesters to wear face masks at all times and follow social distancing guidelines. Women’s March Chicago also hosted dozens of other rallies over the weekend, including some in Chicago’s suburbs and a virtual Zoom event. 

“This is the most crucial election of our lifetime,” said Gianna Gizzi with Women’s March Illinois.

Many protesters dedicated their signs to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, a trailblazer for gender equality under the law. (Grace Rodgers/MEDILL)
“This election will determine if we keep the rights we have fought years to gain or if we will lose them,” said elementary school teacher Lillian Purich, 24, who spoke in support of Planned Parenthood at Federal Plaza before the march started. (Caroline Catherman/MEDILL)
womens marchers
Protesters marched North to Daley Plaza, where they rallied in front of the Daley Courthouse, before they returned back to the Federal Center Plaza. (Grace Rodgers/MEDILL)
kid protestors with signs
These 9 and 10-year-old sisters were excited to march in their first protest with their mom. “Her voice is really loud, so she’s perfect for it,” confided one sister about the other. (Caroline Catherman/MEDILL)
mother and daughter protesting
Jenny Meyer, 36, brings her 8-year-old daughter, Lillian, to all the elections, protests and marches she attends. This was Lillian’s third Women’s March. “I brought my daughter out today to show her at a young age that it’s important to participate in democracy. It’s important that she understands that her rights are on the line and, unfortunately, she may need to fight for them for her entire life as I have,” Meyer said. (Shivani Majmudar/MEDILL)
one fair wage protestors
Some marchers represented One Fair Wage, a group that demands employers be required to pay the full minimum wage with tips on top for all workers. (Grace Rodgers/MEDILL)
Gianna Gizzi leads march
Gianna Gizzi, an organizer of Saturday’s event, led the march and chanted alongside protesters. (Grace Rodgers/MEDILL)
"im speaking" poster
Protesters referenced Sen. Kamala Harris’ trending phrase, “I’m speaking,” heard in the vice presidential debate. (Shivani Majmudar/MEDILL)

2 families at protest

Three generations of the Schwartz women (left, Shivani Majmudar/MEDILL) and two generations of the Igoe women (right, Caroline Catherman/MEDILL) were just a couple of many families who came to march together.

“What we’re standing here for and talking about today is stuff that doesn’t just affect us, but also future generations. We stand on the shoulders of giants, of the women who came before us,” said Lindsay Schwartz.

reproductive rights signs
Frontline marchers used their words to champion reproductive rights and their voices to chant “my body, my choice.” (Grace Rodgers/MEDILL)
protest police
From start to finish, Chicago police escorted protesters through city streets. (Grace Rodgers/MEDILL)
Activists repeated a similar message: “We need to be prepared to get in the streets Nov. 4 to defend our democracy.” (Grace Rodgers/MEDILL)
pussyhat oct 17 2020 march
This woman donned a pink hat created after the Nov. 2016 election in retaliation against President Trump’s famous “grab her by the p—-” comment. These hats became a tradition starting at the first Women’s March in Jan. 2017, after Trump’s inauguration. (Grace Rodgers/MEDILL)