2018 March to the Polls – FAQ

Women’s March Chicago 2018: March to the Polls FAQs

These are answers to questions from the Women’s March Chicago Facebook page and other sources. This is an evolving document. If you have a question you’d like answered, please email info@womens121marchonchicago.org. We cannot guarantee every question will be published on this page, but we will do our best to answer.

GENERAL QUESTIONS ABOUT THE MARCH

What is the objective of the Women’s March Chicago 2018: March to the Polls rally and march?

On January 20, 2018 marchers will come together in downtown Chicago to celebrate the spirit of the resistance efforts over the past year and unite to focus on the 2018 elections and beyond. See the full Mission Statement HERE

More info on the march organization and structure is towards the bottom of this FAQ.

When will I find out logistics details?

As soon as we have it we will provide information regarding when the rally will open for marcher arrivals. There will be a lot of setup being done the morning of the march, so please do not arrive prior to set arrival time. We will also provide information about the main entry point for the rally and the march route.

Can you provide details on rally and march accessibility for attendees with disabilities?

Can you provide details on rally and march accessibility for families with children?

March to the Polls is dedicated to facilitate an accessible, supportive experience for participants, including people with disabilities and those marching with children.  We will provide detailed logistics as soon as we have them.

What if there is an emergency medical issue?

We will contract for EMT services onsite, and work with the Chicago Fire Department for city-provided services.

Will there be any food or drinks available?

We suggest packing a lunch. At this time, food and drink are not planned onsite. If you do purchase and bring in food and drink items, please make sure to properly dispose of any waste, which may mean carrying it with you to a garbage can offsite.

Please patronize coffee shops and restaurants located throughout the downtown area—feel free to stop there first and bring your food and drink with you.

WHAT CAN I BRING?

Signs! What types of signs are allowed?

We encourage marchers to make their own signage, expressing their own concerns/demands for women’s/human rights. The city of Chicago does not have restrictions on the types of materials you may use for signs. However, please be cognizant of the fact that there will be a large number of people in a small space. Any material such as wood and metal to hold signs up on could unintentionally harm other marches if not held securely, not to mention heavy! Hand held signs without any support or extender is preferred.

Are backpacks and other bags allowed?
As of now, yes. As we work with the City of Chicago we will follow their safety recommendations, so this may change. Please check back frequently.

We also encourage you to be responsible for the items you bring such as empty water bottles, food wrappers, etc. Please use the garbage facilities around the rally site and march route. We want to be respectful of the city and the people who live downtown, so please dispose of items appropriately.

I’m making signs or wearables I’d love to share (freely) the day of the march.  How do I do this?

Please connect on our social media platforms to arrange to exchange these items. Please note that any posts selling items will not be approved.

Can I bring signs or items to sell?

Free items are welcome.  No outside soliciting or sales will be allowed.

Are you affiliated with the larger march and rally of a similar name happening in Washington, DC?

We are not directly affiliated with Women’s March on Washington, DC, but we honor the sentiments of the DC march. It’s our goal to amplify the positive message that came out of the DC March and more than 600 other women’s marches held that day around the world, but we have our own identity and Mission Statements. 

Is the March organization diverse?

The first organizers met online in mid-November, 2016, compelled to combat the divisive/dangerous rhetoric and actions of the 2016 presidential campaign. The organizers at the first meeting were White, Latina, gay, straight, survivors of trauma, Buddhist, Christian, agnostic. At that first meeting, most did not know one another. Since that first meeting, our organization has grown larger and more diverse. Diversity is a  top priority. The March organizers are diverse and continuing to connect and work with diverse groups and individuals around the City.

As we’ve continued to work over this year to connect with other organizers at the local and state level, as well as across the country, Women’s March on Chicago has put an emphasis on diversity through learning from and working with a variety of organizations concentrating on our areas of concern. We are always looking for new opportunities to help amplify the messages of groups doing wonderful work in our community.

How is the March planning team organized?

The initial organizers helped develop leadership and volunteer teams drawn from our volunteer base and outreach to community organizers, women’s organizations, labor unions, and other groups. Our volunteers manage various areas including media, day-of logistics, marketing materials, permits, speakers, and other areas too numerous to mention. There’s a lot of talent out there and people have the open opportunity to thrive and contribute.

After the 2017 march a small group of organizers and our Champions met to discuss the future of this organization. We have worked on events:

  • Rally in Springfield to support HB40 and other women centered legislation
  • Fierce over 40 campaign to work to engage women of any age to become active in their communities
  • Pink Hat Run to help raise funds and awareness of issues important to women and their allies

Are you a non-profit?

At the moment we continue to run as an LLC. We are working on a partnership to be sponsored by a non-profit as well as working to establish a 501(c)4 organization. The non-profit sponsorship will allow us to work on energizing and educating women and their allies through programming and partnerships. The 501(c)4 tax organization will be focused on direct political actions once it is established. As we finalize details, we will update this section.

Who else supports the Women’s March Chicago?

We are working on reconfirming our partners from the last march as well as other organizations we’ve been in contact with this past year. Stay tuned for an updated list!

Who will speak at the March?

We are hard at work finalizing our speakers – please stay tuned!

How do I get my own contacts–interested organizations or individuals–involved?

Please spread the word via Facebook. Click here for the event and here for the group.

Are there fliers and similar materials?

There will be – we are in the process of developing updated materials. Check back regularly for updates.

Are there fliers available in Spanish?

They will be developed along with other materials – stay tuned.

 MARCHERS

I’m a man. Can I march?

We encourage women and allies of women to march.  Everyone who supports women’s rights and human rights should march. Please see our Identity Statement, which further defines who Marchers are.

Can I bring my young children to march?

Yes. many of us are excited to include our families.We plan to set aside an area for families that want to be a little further from loudspeakers, towards the edge of the crowd. As we get confirmation of location and firm up logistics, we will have more information available on how to best access this area.

Be mindful that while we anticipate a peaceful march, any large gathering like this poses risks. The March is primarily geared toward adult participants and some language and signage used during the march may be confusing to or inappropriate for young children. There is always the possibility of counter-efforts as well, and language used to protest the March may be offensive or scary to young children.

I’m a teenager. Can I march?

Yes. Your engagement in our country’s future is critically important. These are suggested guidelines for effective marching, but are certainly not definitive. You and your parent should use your own judgment.

  1. March with an adult you know or in a supervised group with an adult you know.
  2. Do not agree to meet and march with strangers you encounter online even if their online identity suggests they share your views, opinions, or values. Online identities can be purposefully deceiving. Stick with people you know and trust at all times.
  3. Know your location! If you get lost or separated from your group, be sure you know where you began so that you can re-connect with your group or find your way home at the end of the march.
  4. Make awesome signs to express why you’re marching.
  5. Share your experience with your friends.

I’m an educator and my high school or college students want to attend with me, or alone. Is that okay?

Yes. It is up to you to create and maintain a smart plan for bringing minors that are not your own children. We would love to see groups of marchers identified as their school or organization. We are asking these groups to stay after to help clean up our beautiful city.

REGISTERING A GROUP OR PERSON

Do I need to RSVP?

You can use the Facebook event. We are working on registration through the website for individuals and groups – stay tuned for that.

My group wants to come via public transportation– do I need to RSVP?

While registering is not required, it is very helpful to us in planning logistics for the day of the event and in connecting people. The link for registering groups will be active soon.

My group is chartering a coach– do I need to RSVP?

Yes.  We will get you specific information for your driver about drop off, standing, and pick up. Group registration will be active soon.

My group wants to have a public meet-up location…can you help me?

We will have this function soon – stay tuned.

I’m coming alone, can I meet-up with someone to go?

INDIVIDUALS – we will be creating a map of meet up points. Please stay tuned.

MARKETING

How did you choose certain companies to produce and distribute apparel? We focus on women owned organizations as well as commonly used platforms for fundraising, ticketing, and larger scale apparel fundraising. We will be rolling out new initiatives regularly, so please stay tuned to the website and social media for how you can purchase your own march merchandise.

How did you choose certain items?

We chose items to put up for sale based on pricing, items popular through Bonfire, prior experience of some team member and volunteers, and the experience of many other sister-city Marches.

Will shirts/hats/buttons be available at the march?

We will not have any sales the day of the event, in order to not spread our volunteer efforts too thin.

I’ve got a great idea of an item I can help you sell for fundraising. Are you interested?

YES! Please contact us at info@womens121marchonchicago.org with your idea. Please use the subject line “Fundraising Idea”

I want to sell items in the closed group to raise money for _____(amazing advocacy organization).

There are so many great organizations and opportunities out there. We can’t possibly research them to make sure each item posted is legit. We can only do the due diligence on our own vendors. No third party sales of Women’s March Chicago or other items or fundraising requests will be allowed, any posts made will be deleted.  Feel free to share on your personal Facebook accounts and networks.

WEBSITE and FACEBOOK PAGES

What about people who are not on Facebook or the internet? How will they learn about the march?

Please send people to our website:  www.womens121marchonchicago.org

I need fliers.

They are in development – please check back regularly and stay tuned to the Facebook page for updates.

Why are comments turned off on the Facebook event page?  Like the website, the event page is for disseminating information. This is where you can RSVP and get logistical information.

If you want to discuss this march or have questions, please go to our Facebook (non-event) page: womens121marchonchicago

Why is the original Facebook page private?

When the Facebook group was started last year, as people showed interest, we wanted to try to avoid “trolling” activity. We made the page private and have been using moderators to screen for trollers as they accept new members. “Trolling” is deliberately nefarious activity—completely different than genuine debate, argument, or disagreement. Our criteria for identifying “trollers” is racist, misogynistic, or similarly threatening statements or images on FB profiles. We’ve had very few to no “trolls” on the page because of the private status. We work to monitor activity on our Facebook group, and work to identify and block any trolls who make it past our initial screening. All posts must be approved by moderators. This is to try to keep the number of posts from overtaking members’ news feeds, avoid duplicate posts, minimize trolling behavior, and prevent third party marketing and promotion. Our goal is to have a community who keeps each other informed, engages in productive and respectful dialogue, and is a resource to everyone who wants to be involved.

When the FB page reached 5,000 members, the security setting was locked in—this is a function of FB. We cannot take this current page back to “public”—we can only keep it as it currently stands or increase the security to “secret” should the need arise.

What do legal observers and marshals do at the march?

Legal observers will be wearing green hats, and are third party individuals who are there to record and report any unlawful or improper action. They are there to monitor police activities to ensure marcher’s rights are protected, and may write incident reports if necessary. They may be using phones or cameras to record and document any incidents they observe. Legal observes are requested by march organizers, and are not affiliated with either the city or the march.

Marshals are volunteers who have been recruited by the Women’s March on Chicago. Marshals are an essential part of the safety team. A marshal’s main role is to make sure everyone moves along the march route safely and has a good time.

They serve as a buffer between the marchers and the public and police, and have gone through training in de escalation and handling conflict, and will call for help if it is needed.