The fourth annual Women’s March is scheduled for Saturday in Washington, D.C. and among the more than 100 sister marches planned around the world is one in downtown Phoenix on Sunday.
Women’s March Phoenix organizers posted on the group’s Facebook page Wednesday evening that the event is “scaling back” and will be only be a rally at the Arizona state Capitol, not a march.
“We had a later start getting things organized this year. We had money from last year, but we just weren’t able to procure funds we needed in time to get it done,” Women’s March Phoenix organizer Eva Burch told The Arizona Republic.
“We need people to march in a different way this year. We need people to help us with voter registration and getting signatures for various initiatives and canvassing. Those things are more important and they are at the heart of why we do this,” she said.
Phoenix event costs about $10,000
It costs about $10,000 to put the march on every year, Burch said.
Women’s March Phoenix does not have a parent organization and relies on fundraising to cover the costs, which include a sound system, portable bathrooms and garbage cleanup, she said.
This year they weren’t able to get barricades to block off the street for the march comped, which would have added about $8,000, so they had to go, Burch said.
“We had to make some really tough decisions. We certainly couldn’t not have a sound system; we couldn’t skip the bathrooms, we had to make sure we had ADA portapotties,” she said.
Even if someone were to donate the money now, organizers would not have enough time to get the barricades and the necessary permits, she said.
The local march raises money through donations and the sale of T-shirts, she said, and in the past has received money from Planned Parenthood Arizona.
Smaller crowds than in years past
The 2017 march protested the first full day of President Donald Trump’s term in Washington, D.C., and at hundreds of other events in all 50 states and around the world.
Across the country, an estimated 3.3 million to 5.2 million participated in the inaugural marches, making it probably the largest demonstration in U.S. history. But attendance has dwindled over the years.
Here in Phoenix, officials estimated 6,700 people attended the march in Phoenix last year, at least 20,000 attended in 2018, and an even larger crowd attended the 2017 march.
Organizers: Focus on upcoming election
Instead or marching, organizers focused on continued political action leading up to the 2020 presidential election.
“It’s still a protest. People can still come and have their signs with the same kind of enthusiasm that has been there in years past,” Burch said.
“We still have much to protest with what’s going in the administration. It hasn’t gotten better. It gets worse all the time and we want people to have a voice and express that.”
Details: 10 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 19. Arizona State Capitol, 1700 W Washington St, Phoenix. Facebook.com/WomensMarchPhx.
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