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Springfield Women's March Focuses On Democratic Causes, Candidates

The minimum wage, abortion rights, and the state budget were among the rallying points for women marching on the Illinois Statehouse Tuesday. The event put liberal issues — and Democratic candidates — front and center.

They came from across Illinois — women and a few men, carrying signs for a variety of causes: supporting women’s rights and immigrants, opposing guns, and urging passage of the Equal Rights Amendment.

“Our communities are under unprecedented attack, and we need to stand together," said Mony Ruiz Velasco, with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.

Several speakers spoke against Republican officeholders, including Gov. Bruce Rauner and President Donald Trump.

Maaria Mozaffar is an attorney with CAIR-Chicago — the Council on American-Islamic Relations. She got a cheer from the crowd when she said Trump was “unfit to solve real problems."

“The reason why people march is to show that we’ve woken up," Mozaffar said. But she added that the activism has to go beyond marching: "We are ready to push laws, write laws, and make it very clear that we are not unfit Americans."

The crowd also heard from five of the men seeking the Democratic nomination for governor, and met with senators and representative to deliver pink cards listing legislative priorities.

The Capitol Police estimated about 1,500 people attended the march. Organizers put the figure at more than 2,000.

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
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