FAQ’s

Women’s March on Chicago FAQ
(Frequently Asked Questions) 

These are answers to questions from the Women’s March on 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 on Chicago rally and march?

Our objective is to make ourselves seen and our voices heard to the new administration. We will amplify the message of the Women’s March on Washington, DC, occurring on the same day, January 21. We will help (as said in their Statement) to “send a bold message to our new administration on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights.”

In addition, we will follow our own mission: connect to support each other in protecting and furthering women’s rights and civil liberties by activating in our communities. CONNECT, PROTECT, ACTIVATE.

See the full Mission Statement at http://womens121marchonchicago.org/our-mission/

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

Where do I find Logistics details?

The rally will open for marcher arrivals starting at 8:30am. There is a lot of setup being done that morning, so please do not arrive prior to 8:30am to ensure the march organizers are able to get everything in place.

The main entry point for the rally is onto Columbus Drive via Balbo or Congress. View the full Logistics details for the march here, including full information on entry points for the Rally space.

Rally Accessibility for Attendees with Disabilities and Families with children marching

To ensure the most inclusive and diverse movement possible, the Women’s March on Chicago is dedicated to facilitate an accessible, supportive experience for all participants, including people with disabilities and those marching with children.  Please see the Logistics Page for full details of Accessible services.

 

What if there is an emergency medical issue?

We are contracting for EMT services onsite, and working with the Chicago Fire Department for city provided services.

Will there be any food or drinks available?

We suggest packing a lunch.  In order to try to supplement restaurants near the march site, we are inviting food trucks to park near the march. The exact location is being reset. Please patronize these vendors as supporters of the march.

If you do purchase and bring in food and drink items, please make sure to properly dispose of any waste. There will be many garbage cans in the area and people helping out in this manner.

There are also many 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?
Yes. Please bring what you feel you will need for the day with you. Although no checkpoints are planned to enter the rally, there will be a large Chicago Police presence to help with street closures. The Women’s March on Chicago will have over legal observers and 300 marshals present to help with any interactions, but please be mindful and respectful to everyone you encounter at the event.
We also encourage you to be responsible for the items you bring such as empty water bottles, food wrappers, etc. We will have some garbage facilities around the rally site, so please use them. 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?

We are working with the logistics team to set up an area dedicated to sharing for a limited period of time the morning on the 21st.  Stay tuned.

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 that march by holding ours on the same day. It’s our goal to amplify the positive message of the DC March and more than 100 other women’s marches held that day, but we have our own Identity and Mission Statements. See this website for a listing of women’s marches happening on January 21: http://womensmarchonamerica.org.

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.

How is the March planning team organized?

The initial organizers (who quickly wrote Mission Statements, compiled names of volunteers and reached out for a permit), 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.

Are you a non-profit?

No, we are an LLC. Becoming an LLC was an easier process, and on our short time-frame we needed to choose this option. That said, no money goes to volunteers. It goes to vendors and remaining money will go to a local non-profit that fits with the mission of the march.  We will cease fundraising as quickly as possible when we believe we’ve met our goal, to minimize any overage.

Who else supports the Women’s March on Chicago?

We have participation and commitment from women’s groups, organized labor, and other organizations and have connected to hundreds more. Check this site: http://womens121marchonchicago.org/our_supporters/

Who will speak at the March?

We are very excited about an incredible slate of speakers and performers, representing issues brought to light during the campaign and diverse issues of concern to Chicago women and beyond. The speakers list can be viewed here: http://womens121marchonchicago.org/speakers/

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

Use the link to download or forward fliers: http://womens121marchonchicago.org/spread-the-word/.

Please also ask organizations to register their support at: http://womens121marchonchicago.org/register-for-the-march/

Are there fliers and similar materials?

Yes.  Download to print or email fliers from here: http://womens121marchonchicago.org/spread-theword/

Are there fliers available in Spanish?

Yes.  Download to print or email fliers from here: http://womens121marchonchicago.org/spread-the-word/

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. We are working with the new logistics and will map this out clearly by Wednesday.

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?

While registering is not required, it is very helpful to us in planning logistics for the day of the event and in connecting people. http://womens121marchonchicago.org/register-for-the-march/  You can use the Facebook event or the website to RSVP. No need to do both.  Groups are STRONGLY encouraged to register so that they will get logistics information, and can publish meet-up locations if they would like.  Registered groups can choose to publish their group name on our website page as a participating group.

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. http://womens121marchonchicago.org/register-for-the-march/

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.  http://womens121marchonchicago.org/register-for-the-march/

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

GROUPS–Register your meet-up location using the Group Registration button. Connect with others on your way to the march! http://womens121marchonchicago.org/register-for-the-march/

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

INDIVIDUALS–Use the map at http://womens121marchonchicago.org/register-for-themarch/to find a meet-up spot near you or downtown.  Or just show up and you will be amongst many welcoming marchers.

MARKETING

How did you choose certain companies to produce and distribute apparel? A woman owned, local franchise currently produces and distributes apparel for the March. Prior to this, Bonfire (a national company used by many Women’s Marches) produced and distributed apparel for a week during the holidays.

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?

At this time, we are not planning 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?

Due to the overwhelming number of fundraising offers and the fact that onboarding any idea– even the simplest–takes many hours of work, we aren’t accepting new ideas for fundraising. We need our volunteers to be working on current general fundraising and organizing initiatives.

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 possibility research them to make sure each item posted is legit. We can only do the due diligence on our own vendors. At this time, no third party sales of Women’s March on 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.

Download and print or email fliers from here: http://womens121marchonchicago.org/spread-theword/

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. This is a page that was set up in mid-November.

Why is the original Facebook page private?

When the Facebook group was started, 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’ve only seen a handful of profiles we’ve not accepted.

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.