United in Step

A large group of people march down Washington Street in Marquette. (Photo by Jaymie Depew)

Third annual Women’s March held in Marquette

Published in The Mining Journal on Jan. 20, 2019

MARQUETTE — Hundreds of people braved the cold temperatures Saturday afternoon to peacefully withstand an array of concerns during the third annual Women’s March in Marquette.

The march is held in conjunction with the national protest that began the day after the inauguration of President Donald Trump.

People started gathering around noon at the Marquette Commons to prepare to march a loop down Spring, Front and Washington streets, and later hold up in front of the post office and on surrounding blocks.

Many held signs focusing on the thousands of indigenous women and girls who are abducted and murdered every year, sex-based wage gaps, immigrants seeking asylum, harassment policies and more.

A Native American blessing and drum performance from Morning Thunder Drum Group kicked off the event.

Jamie Logsdon Kuehnl, of Northern Michigan University’s English and Native American programs, was the first of four speakers.

“We are today united in hope and action for something greater. We support each other, standing shoulder to shoulder in these frigid streets today, we are here today, but we might also take some time to consider those who are not among us,” Kuehnl said.

She noted that many indigenous women and girls go missing or are murdered every year, and that the issue is overlooked by government officials.

“It’s the families of these abducted, trafficked, exploited, missing and murdered women and girls who are left behind to search for them for answers,” she said.

While Kuehnl said colonization created the situation initially, “power dynamics” keep it going and that “it’s time for something greater.”

Cofounder of the Women’s Center, Karlyn Rapport, was the second speaker.

“Our Statue of Liberty said ‘Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,’” she said. “Now those seeking the asylum of our shores are cruelly separated, children from their parents — we put these immigrants who are seeking a better life in holding tanks with the prospect of deportation back to the terrors they hoped to escape. We are the ones inflicting life-long trauma. Our country is better than this.”

The last speakers of the event were high school students DeDe Atwell Gorkowski and Lillian Biolo Thompson, who touched on topics of empowerment and improvements that need to be made.

“Our world is moving and changing in leaps and bounds ahead of old standards. However, sometimes it still feels like the 1950s,” they said. “I hope we are the last generation to hear the words ‘Boys will be boys.’ Instead, we will be able to scream ‘Boys will be men who support women.’”

After the march, a post-march reception was held at the Ore Dock Brewing Co. featuring speeches, poetry, musicians, artists and vendors. The event was sponsored by NMU’s Public Relations Student Society and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.