In 2017, there were over 653 reported Women’s Marches in the United States. Since then there continue to be initiatives across the country to advance women’s rights in the form of rallies, marches, trainings, phonebanks, and postcard campaigns.
In Los Angeles, the Women’s March Foundation is engaging voters to transform their actions into activism. On October 8th, Women’s March Foundation Los Angeles organized a rally for reproductive rights. After the Supreme Court ruling left reproductive rights in limbo, Women’s March Foundation has stepped up to ensure pro-choice candidates are elected in the upcoming midterm elections.
Just after the rally on October 8th, I spoke with Amber Valdez, Program Director for the Women’s March Foundation, to hear her perspective on the National Day of Action, engaging marchers and activists, and building momentum for the midterms.
Can you tell me about the initiatives that the Women’s March Foundation is currently pursuing to further women’s rights?
We are currently focusing on three initiatives, which are a street naming initiative, abortion rights, and voter engagement.
Our programming includes digital focus on national advocacy. National voter contact via phone banking, text banking, and in person voter contact has been our focus for the past year. In June of 2022, we opened the Women’s March Hub, a place for people to come and gather to engage in advocacy campaigns.
What was the goal for the National Day of Action?
October 8th was about rallying the vote. Registering voters and keeping our eye on the midterm elections. Our rally was part of a national effort to continue to stay loud across the country. Not only stay loud, but continue to fight back on abortion bans that are still taking place across the country. Our rally on October 8th included a Training to Win strategy summit which helped activists gain the tools they need to continue to advocate beyond marching.
It’s up to every single one of us to fight for Reproductive Rights.
The National Day of Action was about getting people to translate what they’re doing at the marches and turn them into activists.
The people that came together are coming out with their signs and are excited about women’s rights, but they’re not necessarily taking that action and doing something with it. When they show up, we engage them and make sure that they’re doing a lot more than just marching.
How can people get involved?
We are so close to the election, we want to have people that are willing to phone bank and canvass. Currently, out of our office we’ve been hosting Coffee and Politics, which invites people to volunteer for different campaigns and initiatives that are set forth to help protect reproductive rights across the country.Action Network has been a great resource and partner as it helps us keep the communication going with our activists. Via Action Network we host petitions, volunteer drives, and of course fundraising emails.
The work doesn’t happen in silos and the more we partner with other organizations, the stronger we are as an organization.
We are currently working on turning out the Latino vote out of Boyle Heights as it’s the heart of Los Angeles and the Latino vote. For the National Day of Action, we chose Boyle Heights as our hub because we know that the Latino vote is often ignored or it’s only thought about when it’s close to the election. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done and it begins with building trust within the community.
The National Day of Action brought together marchers, all standing up for reproductive rights. In Los Angeles, the Women’s March Foundation engaged voters, trained future activists, and shared their plan to ensure everyone’s voice is heard at the polls.
Thank you, Amber Valdez and the Women’s March Foundation!
Learn more about their work and how you can get involved at www.womensmarchfoundation.org/.