Thousands celebrate Women's March anniversary in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) - Thousands of people celebrated the anniversary of the Women's March with a voter registration rally in Las Vegas Sunday. 

The event was called Power to the Polls. 

The goal is to register one million new voters before the midterm election in November. The organizers of the rally are hoping to end Republican control of Congress and the states through mass voter registration. 

"We are powerful beyond measure and together we can accomplish so much for our communities," said Carmen Perez, one of the co-founders of the Women's March. 

Organizers chose Las Vegas to house their main event due to its status as a key battleground state. 

Nevada also sets a standard when it comes to elected female officials. Nearly 40 percent of state legislators are female, one of the highest percentages in the nation. 

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Speakers at the rally in Las Vegas included Elaine Wynn and Rose McKinney-James, co-chairs of the Nevada host committee for the march, Astrid Silva, director and co-founder of DREAM Big Vegas, spoken word artist and community advocate Jessica “Jess Flo” Washington, Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, local restaurant owner Mary Sue Milliken, trans advocate ToiYoshi Brandi Castro, Desiree Alliance director Cris Sardina, DREAMer Argelia Rico, Nevada Sen. Yvanna Cancela, civil rights activist Rev. William Barber III, civil rights advocate Dr. Kimberle Williams Crenshaw, and singer/actress Cher.

U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, Congresswoman Dina Titus and Congresswoman Jacky Rosen did not attend but they taped video messages for the crowd. All three women decided to remain in Washington, D.C., because of the shutdown. 

Many of the speakers emphasized the struggles that are faced by women of color, immigrants, members of the LGBTQ community and sex workers. 

The white women in the audience were encouraged by speakers to support the issues of those who are members of the marginalized communities. They were told that they need to vote for the DREAMers, the trans women of color, the sex workers, and indigenous women. 

A survivor of the mass shooting on Oct. 1 at the Route 91 Harvest Festival also spoke to the crowd about her experience and the difficulties she has faced since the shooting that claimed 58 lives and affected hundreds more. 

Singer and actress Cher told the crowd that the current administration represents “one of the worst times in our history” and that “women are going to be the ones to fix it."

The crowd also enjoyed performances by Ledisi and Faith Evans, a platinum-selling singer and R&B recording artist. 

The Las Vegas crowd was fairly diverse and was made of both the very young and the elderly.

Many of those who were in attendance for the rally wore the movement’s trademark “pussycats” and carried signs, many of which bashed President Donald Trump.

The rally was kicked off by a Native American woman who reminded the audience that Las Vegas sits on historic native land and that Native American women face a disproportionately higher rate of murder compared to their peers. 

Participating organizations at the event include the National Congress Of Black Women - Las Vegas, the Rape Crises Center, Mi Familia Vota and The Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Nevada. 

The number of those in attendance has not yet been announced. Some people estimated the crowd at approximately ten to twelve thousand. 

Hundreds of thousands of people marched on Saturday in cities like Chicago, Los Angeles and New York. 

Other Power to the Polls rallies will be held in other swing states in the coming months. 

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