It was a chilly, rainy day on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017 in St. Paul. But the route from St. Paul College to the State Capitol was packed when an estimated 90,000-100,000 women and allies moved forward together in the local Women’s March.
An estimated 4.8 million people took part in 673 Women’s Marches around the world, with “sister marches” on all seven continents. A local and worldwide sense of unity, inclusiveness, peacefulness and strength was prevalent.
The St. Paul gathering was filled with first-time marchers and those who were veteran protesters. Friends, families, co-workers and strangers came together.
Women united to raise their voices for multiple causes – for gender equity as well as protecting healthcare services and reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, ending domestic and gender violence, gun violence and economic inequities; standing up for immigrant and Native rights; for environmental justice – all women’s issues and everyone’s issues.
Women recognized the need to be public, to be visible, to have our voices be heard, to give the women’s movement a face.
And since the March, individuals and groups have continued creating waves of energy and resistance.
This year we’ve witnessed the strength of women standing up, telling our stories, speaking our truths. We’ve been reminded that grassroots efforts do make a difference. We’ve picked up our power and called our legislators to make our causes known. 19,000 women across the country stepped up to run for public office to shift the balance of political power.
Starting in October, there was again a groundswell of women raising their voices, simply saying “Me too,” adding our voices to the online campaign that says enough already, it’s time to stop sexual violence. Tarana Burke, who founded the “Me Too” campaign 10 years ago says, “There is power in numbers, in truth telling, in intersectionality, in community.”
When asked recently, “What do we do now?,” Senator Amy Klobuchar responded: “Let me be clear, grieving is not enough, conviction without courage is not enough, words without action are not enough. We have to wake up, stand up, speak up, step up, rise up. If we don’t do it, who will? Answer with action.”
“Women shook the world with the Women’s March,” Klobuchar said. “This is our moment to shine and leave no one behind.”
BE A CHANGEMAKER:
Activist groups that have started this year in Minnesota, responding to our current administration:
Hear Our Voice MNhearourvoicemn.com
Women’s March Minnesotawomensmarchmn.com
Stand Up Minnesota standupminnesota.org
Action Together Twin Cities actiontogethertwincities.com
Women & Advocates MN (WANDA MN)facebook.com/MNwanda/
Minnesota Indivisibleminnesotaindivisible.org or indivisibleguide.com/act-locally