Women’s March Organizers Plan a Follow-Up Convention

Months after the Women’s March became one of the largest activist events in American history, the organizers are hoping to leverage that momentum with a conference in Detroit.

What might be the most high-profile gathering of the past year is getting a sequel.The Women’s March on Washington, which drew hundreds of thousands of protesters to the nation’s capital the day after President Trump was inaugurated in January—and which was echoed by dozens of aligned marches around the U.S. and the world the same day—is launching its own conference, to be held in Detroit in October.

The Women’s Convention, taking place at the city’s Cobo Center, will aim to leverage the voices and power of the roughly 5,000 local groups that organizers and attendees have fostered since the January events. Organizers expect the conference to attract at least 5,000 attendees.

"Bringing us all back together, I think, will truly be a historic turning point for the women’s movement and all of the most marginalized groups in this country who, as you saw from Charlottesville, are under attack," noted Bob Bland, an original organizer of the march, in comments to USA Today.

The conference was in the works long before last weekend’s events in Charlottesville, Virginia, when white supremacists descended on the college town objecting to the removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee. Bland noted that Heather Heyer, the woman who was killed in an attack on a crowd of counterprotesters, was "exactly the kind of person the Women’s March attempted to pull in." Women’s March organizers put together vigils around the country in response to the weekend’s events.

Conference organizers chose Detroit for their inaugural meeting due to its historic importance as a civil rights and grassroots hotbed and its recent economic and political struggles.

"Just like our movement, Detroit cannot be compartmentalized," the convention organizers state on their website. “It is important and valuable to learn from and alongside local organizations, advocates, and citizens within this city while we build and nurture our movement on a national and local level.”

Registration for the conference will be priced at $295, which will cover costs, the organizers say. Scholarship options will be available. The organizers are also raising funds for the event through CrowdRise, a crowdfunding platform. As of Wednesday, more than $120,000 had been raised.

Protesters gather for the Women's March in Manhattan, New York. (PaulPellegrino/iStock Editorial/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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