We are still strong, persistent, and a force of nature, we still want to advance a progressive agenda, and we still want the current President and his enablers out. We are still angry, occasionally nasty, but also know we are slowly winning the war against the forces that would oppress us.
The third annual Women’s March took place in St. Paul Saturday, January 19, in coordination with groups all over the United States, including Washington DC where 100,000 marched. The St. Paul march drew what police estimate were 4,000 protesters to the State Capitol. The temperature was in the frigid single digits, which challenged the resolve of even the state’s most hardy souls.
“It may have been freezing cold outside, but we felt the fire in our hearts for our ‘activism for the common good,’” said Melanie Solei, a new member of SCVANOW.
St. Croix Valley Alliance NOW (SCVANOW) sent 70 members in two school buses to the event, bundled up like snowmen, to champion the cause in St. Paul. This was the most people any organization sent on buses, according to Jammi Hansen Blair, board chair for the Women’s March Minnesota. She added that Planned Parenthood also came out in full force, distributing hats to keep folks warm and signs to use at future actions.
This march was part victory lap to culminate two years of hard work that succeeded in the biggest Midterm Blue Wave election of progressives and most women in Congress in history.
One of the many distinguished speakers at the event on the steps of the Minnesota Capitol was the area’s newly elected Congressperson Rep. Ilhan Omar, who told the crowd, “Two weeks ago I was sworn into Congress with the most diverse and female freshman class.”
“When we speak about equity we’re talking about economic justice, we are talking about environmental justice, we are talking about LGBTQ rights justice, we’re talking about the protection of transgender folks,” Rep. Omar said. The fight is not over but just beginning.
“The speakers were a great reminder of why we do the work we do and of the need to keep up the fight for equality and justice. So many important issues coming up at the legislature, said Nancy McLean, president of St. Croix Valley Alliance NOW.
Protester signs read: “Build bridges, not walls,” “Love Not Hate Makes America Great,” “Women’s Rights are Human Rights,” and “Bundle up, Show up, Never give up.” There were fewer specific anti-Trump signs this time, reflecting the hope of many that the Special Counsel will conclude his work soon and send Trump packing. One sign read: “It’s Mueller Time!”
“People are bundled up — hats, mittens. We’ve walked blocks and blocks. There’s people, volunteers, all bundled up — moving us along, cheering us along, honks, all of it,” said marcher Lexie Erickson to Minnesota Public Radio, along the route of the St. Paul march. “We’ve got to show up to make things happen. … It doesn’t matter the time, the date, how cold it is — things are going to happen, (and) we need to be there to make it happen.”
“The event was about celebrating women’s leadership, and how we can all start to see ourselves and our feminism as intersectional,” said Jammi Hansen Blair. “That is the real invitation. See how we are all connected, see how we can make our world more equitable and recognize that we all come together with varying viewpoints, and then how can we build something together?”
Women’s March Minnesota has issued a follow-up to the marchers and supporters with calls to action: https://www.womensmarchmn.com/actions/post-march-actions-you-can-do-now/1/18/2019
ERA Minnesota (ERAMN www.eramn.org) has also announced that for the first time in decades the Minnesota House will hold hearings on Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) bills in the State Office Building. The hearing is: Thursday the 24th, 9:30 a.m. Basement Hearing Room of the State Office Building, 100 Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard, St Paul, MN 55155
ST. Croix Valley NOW has a website at scvanow.org