On Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017, an estimated 4.8 million people took part in 673 Women's Marches around the world. While the primary march took place in Washington, D.C., there were "sister marches" on all seven continents. It is estimated that 90,000-100,000 attended the Women's March in St. Paul. We asked our readers to share their reflections from the March.
I marched for gender/racial/LGBTQ equality, and economic justice. I marched in support of a woman's right to make choices for her own body. My daughters and I marched in St. Paul and Washington, D.C. The absolute kindness, goodness and positive energy we all felt standing with over half a million like-minded spirits has given us the start-up fuel we need to be better, more active citizens for the rest of our lives!
Jackie Henning, Minneapolis
I'm 69 years old, a disabled trans woman, and needed to be counted as a voice of love in the face of hate. I went with people from First Universalist Church. Younger members helped, loading my wheelchair and pushing me along. To see that many women and men moving as one, looking out for each other, standing in love in the face of hate, was inspirational. My heart sang, knowing as long as we remained united, we would prevail. It was truly healing!
Jessica Wicks, Minneapolis
I've had an underlying "low grade depression" from the systemic, institutionalized, cultural oppression over the last 10+ years - after being engaged in women's empowerment in 1970's to 1990's. The March was inspiring - in numbers, in content, in being together! I have been able to breathe again! I want to conspire ("breathe together"), therefore, I am seeking active engagement in women's community.
Lynn Scott, Minneapolis
women standing outside the Candyland door. The line was out the door! I asked where I could get a pink hat. One reached into her backpack, pulled out her last handcrafted congo pink hat and handed it to me. Thank you! I made a donation to Planned Parenthood to acknowledge your gesture.
Carol Walsh, St. Paul
We were thrilled to have a Facebook message the Friday before the Saturday Women's March. A last-minute march was being organized for Grand Marais. We said yes, expecting there would be just a few of us that marched from the courthouse to the harbor in Grand Marais on an icy morning.
By the designated start time, we had well over 100 people. We read our signs declaring our commitments to the earth, humanity and each other. We sang, we laughed and then we left with renewed faith in our community.
Marcia Hyatt, Grand Marais
The last time my daughter and I had been at the capitol was to watch Governor Dayton sign gay marriage into law in Minnesota. It seems so long ago now - my nine-year-old barely remembers that day - but it was only a few years ago. There was quite a crowd on that day in 2013, but it was nothing compared to the crowd for the Women's March.
I nearly didn't go. We had other obligations, I told myself. We would be there in spirit. I spoke enthusiastically about the March to my daughter that Saturday morning. I told her about how thousands of women would be marching in cities all over the world uniting for women's rights. "Are we going?" she asked, in a way that didn't feel like a question, and my reasons for not being able to go seemed so much harder in the face of her expectation. "Yes," I said, "We're going."
I hope my nine-year-old remembers for a long time that we weren't just there in spirit. We were there.
Mindy Rhiger, Minneapolis
I live in Minneapolis but felt called to March on Washington, D.C. I wanted my young son to know that everyone's voice matters, that it's worth standing up for your convictions, and I wanted him to be proud of his mom and to witness the strength of women.
I stayed with a friend in Pennsylvania whom I haven't seen in more than 20 years since we were in Peace Corps together in Ukraine. Marching with her, and her dear friend from Canada, made it even more meaningful for me. In the metro and on the street, it was so packed at times you couldn't move left, right, forwards or backwards. It had the potential to be downright scary, but it was so civil. Marchers generously thanked National Guard and civilians helping to direct crowds, moms and dads pushed strollers or carried babies in carriers, toddlers on shoulders. Those with disabilities and seniors marched or were pushed in wheelchairs. Whole families with several generations represented proudly, joyously marched.
Being in the crowd helped me feel connected to something larger than myself. It gave me the hope I knew I would need to buoy me on the days to come when I might be despairing. And it inspired continued action. Perhaps the most meaningful aspect of the march for me was the long bus ride to and from Washington from Pennsylvania on a YWCA-chartered bus, where I met other women from all walks of life, and where we talked about the critical need to keep up the momentum - to let the march be the spark that ignites us to stay engaged, stay awake, and stay active.
For me the March is a well I continue to draw from when I need to be reignited, reconnected to that something bigger than myself.
Aimee Jackson, St. Louis Park
I attended the Women's March in St. Paul along with my partner, my sister, and my nephew. I wanted to attend this March so I can speak up and rally with others in solidarity for women's rights and equality more broadly. As an LGBT Minnesotan, I am scared, yet resolved, by a Trump presidency, because the people have power.
Maxwell C. Hall, Roseville
I think the March was very powerful and I am so glad I was able to participate with my family and friends. What I observed was the unity among strangers. You saw people who came from all over. It was very peaceful. It was emotional. It was unique. It was international. It was teamwork without even knowing it.
Most everyone had a sign and they were all unique. Their concerns were for: Women's rights, abortion rights, equal pay, immigration, religious freedom, LGBTQ, Black Lives Matter, science and environment. These were the issues that society is facing, not just women.
It was nice to see the diversity of people. Black, White, Asian, African, disabled, from small children to seniors. Everyone who could get there was there. I loved it.
Fariba Sanikhatam, St. Paul
People. That's the first word which comes to mind when recalling the Minnesota Women's March. People surrounding me in the packed train car, coming from every direction as we walked to the starting point, laughing, chanting, cheering, reveling in the company of friends and strangers alike. 100,000 happy warriors, defending democracy with a smile.
These are the kind of people who will actually make America great again. I'm proud to be one of them.
Siena Iwasaki Milbauer, Minneapolis
The Women's March was approaching, and I was not going to go because I didn't want to be part of what I thought might be an angry, negative gathering. Though anger, resistance and rebellion have a necessary role in changing things for the better (think American revolution, women's voting rights, civil rights, and so much more), I just wasn't sure that's how I wanted to proceed in this instance.
The 12 V-Attitudes (venerable attitudes), the foundation of the Venerable Women philosophy, focus on transforming ourselves in positive ways and in doing so, we transform the world around us. I thought it might be a better choice for me to continue focusing on my own personal transformation and sharing a message of hope with others, instead of marching.
After a conversation with a dear friend, my intuition guided me to go to the March.
I invited family and friends to my house before the March for coffee and then we set off. Walking together toward the St. Paul state capitol building in the drizzling rain, we were all mesmerized by what we saw - thousands and thousands of women, men, children, and babies peacefully walking together. I did not see one single act of disrespect, violence or unkindness.
Each one of us does best when we honor the call of our souls to experience this human life fully and joyfully - and that is what I felt as I stood with my daughters, dear friends and nearly 100,000 people.
I felt energized, enlivened and connected with my brothers and sisters in a deep and profound way because I knew what we marched for is honor, love, and respect for ALL people.
This is an extraordinary and exciting time to be alive. We are co-creating our reality together. I am honored to walk this path with you.
Dawn Morningstar, St. Paul