Thousands clamor for Democratic push at downtown Lexington women’s rally


Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes calls for democratic votes in upcoming elections during the NOW Women’s March Anniversary Rally in front of the Circuit Courthouse in downtown Lexington, Kentucky on Saturday, January 20, 2018. The rally was held a year after the first Women’s March protesting Donald Trump’s presidency. Photo by Arden Barnes | Staff

Rick Childress

Up to their ankles in mud and slush, a crowd left-leaning people with pink hats and signs took to the courthouse lawn to cry out for change. 

Saturday afternoon’s rally— which was organized by the Kentucky National Organization for Women— was planned on the one-year anniversary of the Women’s March held after last year’s presidential inauguration. 

To avoid the soggy ground, thousands squeezed onto the street next to the rainbow-painted crosswalks in front of Lexington’s Circuit Courthouse to rally for women’s rights and the coming Democratic push for Kentucky’s congressional seats in this year’s midterm elections.

“It’s been a long, long year,” Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes told the crowd. “Are you ready to fight back?”

Grimes called for voters to come out en masse for this year’s midterm elections.

Campaigns from all the democratic challengers for Republican Rep. Andy Barr’s congressional seat were out in full force. Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, who recently announced he was running for the seat, was also present.

“We’re going to kick off one of the largest voter registration drives this nation has ever seen as we unite against hatred, bigotry, sexism, violence, intolerance and ignorance,” Grimes told the Kernel a few minutes before her speech.

The crowd featured a plethora of speakers, all of them calling for change in the current political climate. Singer-songwriter Caria Gover led the protesters in a song that she addressed to Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin and President Donald Trump titled, “There’s a hole where your soul’s supposed to be.”

Motivated students from all over the state were in attendance.

Anastasia Pixler, an ISC and political science sophomore, said she grew up in a rural, “very Republican town” where she was the only liberal feminist in her high school.

“I think we’re just making a statement,” Pixler said. “We’re letting them know that we’re not going to stand for this. Yes, it’s been a year, but a year where they haven’t been able to get a lot of their legislature through because we will not stand for what they’re trying to get done.”

Grace Lauzon, a grad student in the music therapy program, said that opinion is shifting “because people feel more valid in their reason to come out and say things.”

“Before I think there might not have been as many outlets and people may have been more dismissive of issues,” Lauzon said. “But I think now because of people who have had the guts to go against the grain it’s all coming to a head.”