The DeKalb Rise Up Council is sponsoring a rally and a march Wednesday in support of International Women’s Day.
The event begins at 5:30 p.m. with a rally at the MLK Commons on the Northern Illinois University campus. At 6 p.m., the group will march to Peace Corner, located at First Avenue and Lincoln Highway. Once there, the group will host an open mic on issues related to gender and social justice.
DeKalb Rise Up is made up of several area activist groups, including Action Steps for America (DeKalb/Sycamore), DeKalb Area Progressives, DeKalb County Democrats, DeKalb Stands Together, NIU Student Association Senate and the NIU Young Democratic Socialists. The group is also supporting #DeKalbDayWithoutAWoman. Group members are encouraging the community to wear red clothing, to take the day off from work or school if possible, and to shop at local women-owned businesses Wednesday, said Kelsey Williams, founder of DeKalb Rise Up.
“The idea is to not shop at big box stores that don’t pay fair wages,” she said. “We support all local businesses, but especially businesses that are owned by women. We want to show solidarity and to show them that they’re valued here.”
Williams said that women’s contributions aren’t always valued by society, and the march will show support for the work that women do inside and outside of the home.
“We want women to receive equal pay for equal work, paid maternity leave and affordable child care,” she said. “We want women’s work to be valued. This isn’t a matter of men vs. women, but a matter of equality. Women are productive members of society and need to be respected.”
DeKalb Rise Up is working on sponsoring more activist events in the coming months. Williams said there are a lot of people in DeKalb County who want to make their voices heard in government.
“We want to keep the focus off partisan politics, like Democrat vs. Republican or men vs. women,” she said. “We want to focus on coming together as a community to support and understand each other, and for all of us to be informed, educated and active.”