Women Rally In Las Vegas On March Anniversary

Jan 21, 2018
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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

In Congress, this has been a weekend of negotiations. But across the country, there have been protests against the Trump administration's policies. There were rallies yesterdays in many cities, and there are protests taking place across the country again today. Among them is a huge rally in Las Vegas held by the organizers of last year's original Women's March. NPR's Leila Fadel is there, and she joins us now. Good morning.

LEILA FADEL, BYLINE: Good morning.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: What are you seeing? Who's there?

FADEL: Well, I'm standing right outside the stadium where they're having this political rally, and thousands of people are filing in next to me. Earlier, they were chanting, Power to the Polls, which is the theme of this rally. And organizers say it's really not about the numbers here, but they're trying to push the idea that let's take all this momentum and put it at the voting polls.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Meaning that they want people to come out and vote and show up at the polls at the midterms in 2018.

FADEL: That's right. So all through the stadium, there are voter registration booths to get people registered. They want to register as many as a million people by the time they're done. After this really here in Las Vegas, they're taking it to 10 other swing states. This is being organized by the original founders of the march in 2018. And today is the anniversary of that Women's March in 2017, I mean. Sorry.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: What's the energy like there?

FADEL: Well, it's palpable, really. It's just starting. It's starting right now. And you can feel women out here - men, as well - getting ready to see a show. The who's who of celebrity activists are here - people like Alicia Garza, the co-founder of Black Lives Matter. Cher is performing. So this is not a march but a show. They're going to talk about politics. They're going to talk about the issues that they feel matter. And they're worried about this president, they say, as a president that they see is somebody who's anti-immigrant, anti-women, in their view, and anti a lot of disenfranchised.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Tell us why the organizers of the Women's March chose Las Vegas. It seems to be an odd choice. Last year, they were in D.C.

FADEL: Yeah. They've taken it to the West Coast this year. And the reason they say is 'cause this is a swing state. This is a place that, in 2016, went for Hillary Clinton, voted for the first female Latina senator and elected her. And so they want to highlight this work as an example of what they're trying to achieve. And this year, they are record numbers of women running for office. Organizations like EMILY's List that train women say more than 26,000 have signed up to run.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Have you been able to speak with anyone, and what have they been telling you?

FADEL: I have. I have. I spoke to a mother who came with four of her daughters. And they said they couldn't miss a moment to commemorate what happened last year - but also to show that they're still here, that they will go to the polls and that they are a forceful political power to be reckoned with. And I think that's what people wanted to show in both the marches - yesterday and the rally today.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Is there big turnout?

FADEL: At this point, I can't tell. The stadium takes about 40,000 people. They're expecting 17,000, which is about half of what the stadium takes. And they're saying it's not about the numbers this rally but about getting that message out. So we'll see how many people turn out.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: NPR's Leila Fadel covering the Women's March in Las Vegas. Thank you so much.

FADEL: Thank you.

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