As the second national Women’s March approaches, it would be easy to distill its message to the oft-repeated slogan, “Time’s Up!” Without minimizing the very real issue of sexual harassment and abuse of women and its horrific consequences, the march is about much more.

“Power to the Polls” is the critical message in this midterm-elections year, as we march in support of women’s rights, human rights, social and environmental justice, and women’s participation in those elections.

Consciousness-raising is a good thing, causing us to reflect on issues and become our better selves. Building on the past, marchers will continue the legacy of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and other early pioneers of the women’s movement. In their 1848 “Declaration of Sentiments,” they stated that “all men and women are created equal.” (Revolutionary for its inclusion of one word!) That document went on to demand “equal rights for women in property and custody laws, educational opportunities, and participation in the church, professions, and politics.” The 1848 convention in Seneca Falls, N.Y., was the beginning of a 72-year battle (!) to gain the right for women to vote in this country.

One hundred and seventy years later, we march in support of a “Power to the Polls” agenda for the women of today, and the girls of tomorrow. We reaffirm our commitment to build a just future for all. Join us on Saturday at 10 a.m. at Central Park in Bakersfield.

Mary Munis-Webb