Women's marches return to Ocean City and Delaware
In tandem with the march on Washington, Ocean City will hold a women's march on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. Produced by Megan Raymond
The Women’s March is returning to Delmarva this Sunday, with events in Lewes and Ocean City.
Organizers said the one-year anniversary march goes beyond marching.
“It’s joining with like-minded people, supporting women candidates and issues important to us,” said Pamela Malsch, a Sussex Women’s March organizer. “Being together is very empowering.”
The Lewes march will be held at 1 p.m. beginning at the Lewes Public Library. In Ocean City, marchers will meet at the Inlet parking lot on the Boardwalk at 2 p.m.
Democratic groups involved in both marches want to keep people politically energized as they enter the new year, especially with 2020 legislative redistricting right around the corner.
“We’re trying to capitalize on that energy and catalyze change in our local Legislature and statewide,” said Meghan Wallace, co-founder of Mary Ann’s List, a Delaware-based organization that helps train and elect qualified, pro-choice women candidates.
Mary Ann’s List, modeled after the national political action committee Emily’s List, was inspired by frustration with a lack of women coming forward in leadership roles.
“I want women to think about channeling their energy and running for elected seats, running political campaigns and getting more involved in the political process,” said Wallace, who will be speaking at the Lewes Public Library, where the Women’s March anniversary is being held.
Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester will also be speaking. She was one of the millions who marched last year.
"Our message was simple: We are here, and we have a voice," the Delaware Democrat said in a statement. "This simple message has inspired millions to engage in our political process and advocate for our values. On the anniversary of the Women’s March, it’s important for us to build on last year’s momentum by lifting our collective voices to fight for change.”
Last year, 5 million people attended marches across the world, including hundreds of thousands who attended the march in Washington.
The Republican Women of Worcester County said it has not discussed the march, as it is not meeting until early February.
Cambridge Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley, who will speak at the event in Ocean City, is no stranger to demonstrating for civil rights.
“The women’s rights movement has been going on for many, many years,” said Jackson-Stanley, who demonstrated for civil rights as a young girl. “Inalienable rights are for everyone. Let’s hold onto that and build upon that.”
She said the reason for the march is to serve as a reminder for how far women have come not even a century ago, when women were first allowed to vote in the U.S.
“Today’s society could be impacted by women who want to challenge the status quo,” Jackson-Stanley said, “not because we’re dissatisfied with everything. We want to challenge ourselves to strive higher.”
The Sussex Women’s March committee is focused on local issues and looking ahead to candidates for this year’s elections. The Women’s March Reunion Rally in Ocean City is hosted by the Democratic Women’s Club of Worcester County, which says it seeks to empower women to vote and run for office.
“We’re really working on getting democratic candidates elected, particularly at the local level,” said Joan Roache, chair of the Worcester DWC’s Political Action Committee, which will have voter registration tables on the Ocean City Boardwalk at the Inlet.
Roache and Wallace said women’s reproductive rights, such as access to family planning services, were important to their organizations’ causes. According to the Women’s March official website, environmental justice and immigrant, disability and civil rights are also important principles to its cause.
“I’ve always been a supporter of people who want to do better than where they are currently found,” Jackson-Stanley said. “This is an opportunity to say ‘Yes, I will move forward with my sisters.’”
If you go
•Ocean City march
2 p.m. at the Ocean City Inlet
1 p.m. at the Lewes Public Library