One Year Anniversary of the Women’s March

Women’s March Michigan held an event of the steps of the state Capitol Building to encourage voting in the upcoming midterm elections.

Natalie Suh, Design Editor

Jan. 21 marked the first anniversary of the inaugural Women’s March. Last year, millions of men and women gathered across the country for reproductive rights, LGBT rights, workers’ rights, civil rights, disability rights and immigrant rights according to the Women’s March mission statement. This year, the Women’s March organization coordinated an event in Las Vegas–Women’s March: Power to the Polls–to encourage both voter registration and electing more women into office. Women’s March Michigan held a sister event in Lansing on the steps of the Capitol Building.

Women make up less than 25 percent of the state legislature. With the 2018 midterms coming up, Women’s March Michigan hopes that events like these will increase that number. Tables on surrounding streets and individuals in the crowds were registering people to vote. Phoebe Hopps, one of the organizers of the event, opened with a speech that spurred cheers and applause

“On Nov. 6, we will bring all our strengths, we will gather our people, our communities and show up at the polls and bring power to the polls,” Hopps said. “If you are in office and not working for the people, for the women in this country, for the families and children, we are coming for you. We have 10 women lined up to take your job and more coming to take your job every single day. We will bring power to the polls this year, for we are the leaders we have been waiting for.”

Many attendees were upset with President Donald Trump’s stance on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). One sign read “We rise by LIFTING others. I stand with DREAMERS,” while another read “Stop Separating FAMILIES” with an image of two hands reaching for each other. One of the speakers at the event was Cindy Garcia. Her husband, Jorge Garcia, was deported to Mexico on Jan. 15 from Detroit Metropolitan Airport. The Detroit Free Press reported that he was removed because of “toughening of immigration enforcement under President Donald Trump.”

“He entered the country without documentation, and that was a crime,” Cindy Garcia said. “The only crime he commited was at 10 years old. We tried for many years since 2005 to make him a lawful permanent resident. We wanted him to become a citizen of the United States because this is his home, not Mexico. I ask everybody here go call your congress, call your senators. You want a DREAM Act. Bring back Jorge Garcia.”

Her emotional speech was followed by a chant that rippled throughout the crowd: “Sí se puede. Yes we can.”

The event strove to show the importance of intersectionality and inclusion of all demographics. Oakland University freshman Jake Chapman attended the rally to show his support.

“Even though I’m a male I still believe that women’s rights matter,” Chapman said. “If you don’t accept everybody in America in today’s day and age, then you need to do some soul searching.”