Walking together: Fourth annual Women’s March draws crowd

Above, participants of the fourth annual Women’s March walk down West Washington Street in downtown Marquette Saturday. (Journal photo by Amy Grigas)

MARQUETTE — Saturday was a day for women in Marquette, as two separate — but related — events took place with the goal of empowering women.

The fourth annual Women’s March, which included a gathering, march and rally, took place at the Marquette Commons in downtown Marquette with hundreds of men, women and children attending the event.

There were many chants such as: “Keep your rosaries off our ovaries,” that could be heard from the group as they made their way from the Marquette Commons parking lot, across Third Street, to Main Street, to Front Street, down Washington Street, to Fourth Street and back to the Marquette Commons parking lot where the rally took place.

“We held our first sister march here in Marquette on the same date as the first national march in January 2017; this is now our fourth time marching in unity with women all around the world,” said Judy Kitchen, a volunteer with the Women’s March.

Marquette’s Women’s March took place in conjunction with many other Women’s Marches across the nation. One of the most recognized is the national Women’s March in Washington, D.C.

Women's March participants hold American flags with sashes reading “vote.” On Saturday, the fourth annual Women’s March took place in downtown Marquette. There were hundreds of men, women and children who showed up for the march. (Journal photo by Amy Grigas)

“The mission of Women’s March is to harness the political power of diverse women and their communities to create transformative social change,” information from the Women’s March website states. “Women’s March is a women-led movement providing intersectional education on a diverse range of issues and creating entry points for new grassroots activists and organizers to engage in their local communities through trainings, outreach programs and events. Women’s March is committed to dismantling systems of oppression through nonviolent resistance and building inclusive structures guided by self-determination, dignity and respect.”

“What was originally just going to be a one-day march has evolved into a national movement that has inspired women to run for office, trained women in direct action, and made women everywhere acutely aware of their power,” the website states. “In 2020, we take our power to the next level.”

The Marquette Women’s March leaders are a group of community volunteers, represented by people of all ages, from high schoolers to senior citizens, organizers said.

“Since 2017, the Marquette Women’s March has been organized by like-minded women and men who want to give people the opportunity to come together, share our voices and energy and let it be known that women can — and have — made a difference in our local, regional and national politics and we will continue to make a difference in 2020,” Kitchen said.

Following the march, the second annual Women’s March Post-Reception Rise U.P. was held by Northern Michigan University’s Public Relations Student Society of America chapter at the Ore Dock Brewing Co.

From left, Karla Paterson, Heather Mlsna, Jen Ray, Jan Sharp, Emma Sanderson-Torres, Darcy Rutkowski, Dan Torres and Brian McHugh are pictured at the fourth annual Women’s March that took place Saturday in downtown Marquette. (Journal photo by Amy Grigas)

Showcased at the event were empowering female professors from Northern Michigan University and the executive director of the Women’s Center. Female artists from NMU’s Student Art Gallery and other organizations were featured as well.

Overall, it was an event to support women in the community, organizers said.

“The message we want everyone t­o take away from the march: vote,” said Kitchen.

Amy Grigas can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 243. Her email address is agrigas@miningjournal.net.