The lead up to the third annual Women’s March has been riddled with accusations of anti-Semitism against its national leadership and lack of diversity among sister chapters. As a result, some marches have been canceled.
But 19-year-old Jazmine Marie-Cruz does not want to see her city go unrepresented in the nationwide protest on January 19th. So she’s taken the initiative to organize her own rally.
Marie-Cruz said: "It wasn't really fair, because Chicago is so diverse and so inclusive, that I feel like there should be some representation of Chicago on the 19th along with the march in D.C. and the march in New York."
Women’s March Chicago decided to host a “March to the Polls” ahead of the midterm elections last October instead of marching with the rest of the nation’s chapters this January. Harlene Ellin, one of the Chicago organizers, insists the decision had nothing to do with the controversy around the national march, and more to do with high cost.
Harlene Ellin said: "You can't cancel a march that didn't exist."
It’s Marie-Cruz's first time organizing a rally. With over a thousand people planning to attend, it’s much smaller than the official Chicago Women’s Marches of the past two years.
"The feedback that I've gotten from it has been so positive because it is youth-led and youth-organized," Marie-Cruz said.
Sister marches around the country began as an outlet for those who couldn't attend the D.C. march to protest the inauguration of President Trump. But now it seems as if the movement is losing momentum.
While the national march is losing supporters and more than half their sponsors amid controversy, Marie-Cruz remains firm in her stance of inspiring young women to unify.
Marie-Cruz said: "I think that this generation, one that I'm in is that we don't know how exactly to go about making change. We think it's sort of impossible for us, but it isn't. I think this rally will show that coming together is the perfect way to make change."