ST. LOUIS – Women gathered Saturday morning in front of City Hall to encourage fellow voters to exercise their rights on Nov. 3 and cast their ballots for a better world.
St. Louis Women’s March organized the rally in conjunction with similar rallies across the nation. Most of the participants were women, but others got involved, too.Face masks appeared to be universal; social distancing was a bit iffy, but a cool breeze kept the air flowing.
St. Louis Women’s March says on its website that it “is committed to inspiring women to ACT. We encourage women of all colors, faiths, ideologies and sexual orientations to create meaningful change through activism and advocacy, in their own lives and the lives of their neighbors and communities.”
With the general election fast approaching, the group’s political stance was clear: Vote out the current president, a Republican.
A pair of silver-haired women held a banner urging voters to “stop Trump’s abuse of power. VOTE.” Several other women posed their young daughters for photos in front of the banner.
Vice President Mike Pence came in for his share of criticism.
And another woman carried a sign reading, “Toxic masculinity ruins the party again” – a statement that can be taken both culturally and politically.
Not all the signs were political, however; many simply focused on women’s rights.
Meanwhile on Saturday, thousands also gathered in the nation’s capital and other U.S. cities, exhorting voters to oppose Trump and his fellow Republican candidates on Nov. 3. The rallies were the latest in an effort that began with a massive women’s march the day after Trump’s January 2017 inauguration.
Rachel O’Leary Carmona, executive director of the Women’s March in Washington, opened the event by asking people to keep their distance from one another, saying that the only superspreader event would be the recent one at the White House.
She talked about the power of women to end Trump’s presidency.
“His presidency began with women marching and now it’s going to end with woman voting. Period,” she said.
“Vote for your daughter’s future,” read one message in the sea of signs carried by demonstrators. “Fight like a girl,” said another.
Demonstrators rallied in dozens of other cities from New York to San Francisco to signal opposition to Trump and his policies, especially the push to fill the seat of late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg before Election Day.
A socially distanced march was held at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., outside the dormitory where Bader Ginsburg lived as an undergraduate student.
In New York, a demonstrator wearing a Donald Trump mask stood next to a statue of George Washington at Federal Hall during the women’s march outside the New York Stock Exchange.
“We Dissent,” said a cardboard sign carried by a young woman wearing a red mask with small portraits of the liberal Supreme Court justice whose death on Sept. 18 sparked the rush by Republicans to replace her with a conservative.
People wearing masks gathered peacefully under sunny skies on the City Hall steps in Portland, Ore., to sing and listen to speakers. One speaker called for racial justice and an end to police brutality.
In Washington, the demonstrators started with a rally at Freedom Plaza, then marched toward Capitol Hill, finishing in front of the Supreme Court, where they were met by a handful of anti-abortion activists.
In one of several speeches at the rally, Sonja Spoo, director of reproductive rights campaigns at Ultraviolet, said she had to chuckle when she heard reporters ask Trump whether he would accept a peaceful transfer of power if he lost his reelection bid.
“When we vote him out, come Nov. 3, there is no choice,” Spoo said. “Donald Trump will not get to choose whether he stays in power.”
“That is not his power, that is our power. … We are the hell and high water,” she said.
Next month’s presidential contest was also the focus of a separate New York protest Saturday at which hundreds of demonstrators protested the killings of Black people by police officers.
Among those protesting was Tamika Palmer, the mother of Breonna Taylor, a Black medical worker killed by officers in March during a raid at her home in Louisville, Ky. A grand jury decided last month not to charge any of the police officers involved with her death; instead, one officer was charged with shooting into a neighboring home.
“People need to get out and vote,” Palmer told those at the event. “Protesting is good, but if we don’t take it to the polls we’re really not going to make the change we want and need.”
A recent Pew Research Center poll indicates that Trump’s support among women is at 39 percent versus 55 percent who support Democratic candidate Joe Biden. Young voters as well are more likely to voice support for the Democratic candidate.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.