Last year’s Women’s March wasn’t even known to me until it was literally happening. I remember sitting on the couch that morning, going thru the channels and couldn’t help but notice the magnitude of the crowds shown on various networks. It was incredible to say the least. 2017’s Women’s March looked amazing and I was definitely envious that I didn’t participate let alone didn’t even hear about it. As the year continued, I kept this in the back of my head and made a mental note that I definitely would not miss the following year.
To make sure 2017 was not a FOMO repeat, I made sure to follow all of the movement’s social media accounts as well as sign up for email notifications from their site. So when I heard about the Power to the Polls event occurring in Las Vegas I knew I HAD TO BE THERE.
Details were slow to come out, which I believe were due to safety reasons. I constantly checked the Facebook page and website with little to no updates. Other followers were expressing my curiosity and frustration, stating, they wanted to make plans to travel to Vegas but want to know what are the plans.
About two weeks out it was unveiled that the event would not be a march, but more of a rally to encourage women to register to vote and participate in the upcoming mid-term elections. As Nevada is a swing state and with the recent October 2017 shooting, the Women’s March organization felt Las Vegas would be a great place to host the first of the Power to the Polls events that would be going across the nation throughout the year.
I had not issue with this whatsoever but my Facebook counterparts definitely did, stating they were upset the event wasn’t really a march. Marches were still occurring but on the official anniversary of the Women’s March, Saturday, January 20. The Power to the Polls event was scheduled for Sunday, January 21 at the Sam Boyd Stadium, the same stadium my alma mater UNLV plays their football games and various other events. In my mind, it all seemed like it would be a great event.
So I asked my mom to join me. She invited two of her girlfriends that are like aunts to me. And I was provided some great and empowering swag and posters by SheThinx. I was ready.
Well, the event was “okay”. It wasn’t bad by any means. But it wasn’t amazing, especially compared to what I saw in 2017 and those marching the day before.
Overall, the event accomplished what it struck out to do: voter registration while having a large group of women come together. But to me, this event could have been even more. It was amazing to see so many supporting souls, of all genders, colors and creeds, come together in support of this movement. And sure, having numerous speeches by amazing women leaders, politicians and celebrities is great. But the way the event was put together was lacking what I thought I would find especially considering the momentum of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movement – how do I do more as just a regular woman besides voting? I understand, a march and rally are definitely not one in the same. But I would expect more resources and organizations at a rally inside a stadium than what was available.
As Power to the Polls embarks on their tour across the country, I’d like to offer a few suggestions. I understand that future events may not be held in the same type of venue, but in the event they are, I’d consider the following:
- The stage was awkwardly situated. It was not centered to the stadium but only towards one side and end of the venue. As more and more people joined the event, they could not even see the screens or stage due to the way it was set up.
- The floor of the football stadium should have been used for the audience and vendors like a festival as opposed to having them set up right next to concessions. Had this been done, I probably could have checked out more while also listening to a speech. Instead, I had to choose when I would go explore the vendors, which had no visibility or sound to the speeches versus listening to a speech. With that said…
- There has to be something more to this event than speeches and voter registration. I didn’t come to this event to sit and listen to speech after speech – many which were amazing. I went to this event with the intent of connecting and doing more within my community as a woman. To use a large stadium for a voter registration event and speeches seemed silly to me.
Obviously, I’m a critical person, but, I don’t think what I’m suggesting is too crazy. And I’m well aware I’m no export when it comes to movements. This movement moved me from a far a year ago and perhaps my expectations were too high. But I don’t think there’s nothing wrong for wanting more.
What are your thoughts?