After months of mobilizing and fund raising, throngs of women plan to pour into Philadelphia for a Million Woman March and daylong rally they hope will revitalize black families and communities.
Organizers told city officials they expect 500,000 participants, but organizers hope a million-plus will join the two-mile march on Oct. 25 which will begin at Independence Hall.
The event has lacked the fanfare of the Million Man March two years ago in Washington, but regional coordinators report growing interest as publicity has increased and the network of planners has jelled.
“We are bombarded now,” said Wessita McKinley, spokeswoman for the Washington-Virginia-Maryland organization, which has hired 55 buses to take some 2,530 participants to Philadelphia.
“This is going to be a historical event,” she said. “They’re just coming to support their sisters, to see what they can do as a collective effort to better ourselves, our race, our families and our community.”
Winnie Mandela, former wife of South African President Nelson Mandela, has agreed to be the keynote speaker, organizers said.
Participants will use the rally to promote development of independent black schools, mentoring centers for teenage black girls and programs to help black women leaving prison and others entering business or politics.
Men and women of all races are welcome.
Organizers plan to carry out the goals over the next three years through community activities.
“We agree it is time … to stand up and take on our responsibility as far as raising our children and teaching them the correct values again,” said Carol Soto, 38, the Minnesota coordinator.
Minnesota Women on a Mission, a group formed for the march, held garage sales and carwashes to help pay for the trip.