Akron will host its own Women’s March this year

by Noor Hindi

For the first time since the global annual events began in 2017, Akron will be hosting its very own Women’s March.

On Saturday, Jan. 19, participants from all over the city will meet downtown to share their experiences and organize to fight the inequality women in Akron face today, organizers say.

Organized by Darrita Davis, co-director for Community Outreach for the WOMB; Traci Person, Regional Field Manager for Planned Parenthood; and Beth Vild, COO/Director of Programming for The Big Love Network, the Women’s March aims to open up a bigger conversation about women’s issues in Akron.

Beth Vild and Traci Person.

“We want to be heard,” Traci says. “We want to be heard to the point where the powers that be can hear us so we can sit at the table and create an alliance.”

The march will begin with an 11 am rally at the John F. Seiberling Federal Building on South Main Street. After the rally, organizers will be leading the march to the Sojourner Truth Building on North High Street, reenacting the abolitionist’s 1851 the speech. From there, the march goes to Summit Artspace.

An afterparty will begin at the Summit Artspace at 12 pm. Three-minute speeches will address issues of reproductive health, equity between neighborhoods, education, youth advocacy, infant mortality and other topics. There will also be live music.

Organizers say they are reaching out to various communities in Akron to make sure Black women, refugees, immigrants and transwomen are in attendance and feel heard.

“We really want to focus on real efforts in collaboration and get past the challenges of the glass ceiling together instead of just individually trying to punch through,” says Beth.

For Traci, it’s especially important that the Akron Women’s March is inclusive and diverse. She says among the black community, the Women’s March is perceived as a “white feminism” event.

She says Black people in Akron, particularly, have been excluded from economic development, citing an October report from Elevate Akron that reached the same conclusion.

“As far as Black people are concerned, we’re at the bottom of economic development. We’ve been excluded,” Traci says.

To find out more information about the Akron Women’s March, visit bit.ly/2LdQUwN.

Noor Hindi is The Devil Strip’s Senior Reporter. Contact her at noor@thedevilstrip.com.