Activists look beyond this weekend's women's marches

January 23, 2017
Heather J. Carlson

The women's marches held across the world during the weekend are over, but as far as Alexus Moses is concerned, the activism is just getting started.

"After this there needs to be more. If we just stop and we let it stop here, nothing will change. It always needs to be a movement," the Winona State University student said.

Moses joined 47 others from Southeast Minnesota who boarded a bus Friday bound for the nation's Capitol. She decided to join in after being invited by her grandmother who told her it was a chance to be part of history. The 19-year-old said she wanted to speak out against Trump's divisive rhetoric and in support of equality for all. At the march, she found a community of people who shared her concerns.

"Our blood was boiling, and we were there for the same thing. It was like we were family and we were all united. It is something I will never forget," Moses said.

More than 1 million people in the U.S. and across the world participated in women's marches. In St. Paul, an estimated 100,000 people marched to the state Capitol. Several hundred protesters also turned out at Silver Lake Park in Rochester.

Marchers said these events are just the beginning. Rochester resident Julie Gordon was among those walking around Silver Lake in Rochester on Saturday. She said she awoke from her "political coma" earlier this year when Democrat Bernie Sanders was running for president. After Republican Donald Trump won the election, Gordon said she was "horrified and depressed and devastated."

Gordon said she hibernated for awhile, but now she is ready to get back to work. She said Saturday's marches were a statement of resistance but also a chance for people to show what they support.

"We are for all Americans no matter what. We are for health care for all. We're for equal rights, equal pay, safety and community," the 63-year-old psychotherapist said.

Gordon said she is ramping up her political activity. She is helping support a group called Move to Amend, which supports a constitutional amendment that states corporations are not people. It is in response to the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling, which allowed corporations and unions to spend unlimited amounts of money on political activities. She is also making sure to reach out to elected officials more often and working to mobilize politically like-minded friends and family members.

Former Rochester DFL Rep. Kim Norton also made the trek to Washington, D.C. on a bus filled with fellow marchers. She said she made the 1,052-mile journey to speak out against misogyny, racism and incivility.

Norton added, "This will hopefully send a really loud, strong message that we as women aren't going to tolerate this. We're not going to tolerate being objectified and treated poorly and watching our neighbors and friends and children be treated poorly. We're just not going to stand for it."


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