March, then learn how to run — for office

On Saturday, tens of thousands are expected to converge in New York City for the 2018 Women’s March on NYC, a follow-up to last year’s Women’s March on Washington, which along with its hundreds of sister marches, was the largest coordinated protest in U.S. history.

But what comes after marching to demand and defend equality for all humans? Running — as in for office, thanks to a post-Women’s March event held by VoteRunLead.

VoteRunLead is a national organization that teaches women how to run for office, from showing them how to build upon skills they already have and communications training to demystifying the amount of money needed to successfully campaign. To date, the organization has trained more than 26,000 women across the country and aims to hit 30,000 by 2020.

After the 2016 election, VoteRunLead saw a shift from participants having a five-year political plan to “about 60 percent” looking to run by 2020.

“The urgency to run is to run right now,” Erin Vilardi, founder and executive director, told Metro. “Right now, we’re seeing a surge in city council and state-run legislature. State legislature is really hot on everyone’s mind this year,”

That’s not surprising, considering the 2018 midterm elections will impact both President Trump’s administration and the country’s political climate as the House of Representatives, a third of the Senate and 36 governorships are among those offices at stake.

VoteRunLead’s post-march “Women Run 2018” event runs from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Helen Mills Event Space at 137 W. 26th St. It includes networking, a panel on ending sexual harassment, speakers and more than 30 coaches to “initiate conversations on running for office, helping women run for office or doing other advocacy,” Vilardi said.

Vilardi has been interested in politics since she subscribed to Ms. magazine in seventh grade, which inspired her to run for class president that same year. It was a title she would hold through senior year. Though she loves her work with VoteRunLead, she doesn’t discount running for political office one day.

“I’ve long believed the world would be a better place if more women were involved and really feel like government is the vehicle in making that happen,” she said. 

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