The first Power to the Polls rally took place in Las Vegas at the weekend following the second annual Women's March, which saw protests across the US and beyond. Power to the Polls, also organised by Women's March coordinators, apparently saw 4,000 people at the Sam Boyd stadium, with the City of Sin chosen as host due to Nevada being a political swing state.
Power to the Polls saw speakers including Cher and congressman John Lewis address the crowds, urging new voters to register in the run up to the 2018 midterm elections, and to encourage female and progressive candidates to run and push against the Trump administration.
Our favourite talk at the podium, however, was Cecil Richards, President of Planned Parenthood, who used her time to tell white women to step up and stop relying on women of colour to do all the legwork in the fight for equality.
“All across the country, the Women's March inspired doctors and teachers and mothers to become activists and organizers and, yes, candidates for office,” she started.
“And from Virginia to Alabama and to last week in Wisconsin,” she added. “Women have beaten the odds to elect our own to office. [...] Women of color, transgender women, rural and urban women.” She then went on to talk about how each of these victories for women were “made possible by women of color.”
“So, white women, listen up. We've got to do better. We've got to do better. It is not up to women of color to save this country from itself. That's on all of us.” The crowd, of course, erupted into cheers and thunders of applause as Richards continued on.
“The good news is when we are in full on sisterhood, women are the most powerful, political force in America. And when we recognize that no one is free until everyone is free, and that means no matter what country you come from, no matter who you love, no matter what you look like. No matter what, we are unstoppable.”
Whilst there are many white women who are great allies, there are still a lot of white women who don't feel that they are personally affected by certain levels of oppression, and instead of fighting for total equality inclusive of women of colours, they stay focused in their own little bubble of white feminism. Many white feminists were likely stood in that very stadium, focused on their own agendas, and there's hope that getting a little shake from Richards might make them start thinking and acting differently in their fight.
The Power to the Polls rally will move around the US, held at ten swing states all in all. The decision to do so is in a move to hopefully solidify more unpredictable election outcomes. Sunday also saw Power to the Polls in Florida, Paris and London.
“Last year, we dared to hope for a better, brighter, more inclusive world,” Richards said. “And this year, we're going to go out and build it.”
So, regardless of who or where you are, it's important to remember that it's time to do better, fight harder, because together we rise.