The 2017 Women’s March – St. Paul, MN
It’s an unseasonably warm February day here in St. Paul, MN. This morning, I sat on my back stoop in a light jacket and shorts and drank my morning cup of coffee. The slightest breeze from the south chilled my bare legs, but the warmth from the sun balanced my internal temperature. The weather reports say there is a winter storm coming by the end of the week, so soon this warm weather will be a fading memory. Let’s hope that this short warm spell didn’t prompt any unreversible budding of trees and shrubs. The last thing I want is for the local flora to not bloom as full when Spring truly arrives—not only for me but for the pollinators and farmers, as well.
Well, enough about the weather, I’m here to chat about St. Paul’s 2017 Women’s March. I know I’m a month late, but better late than never.
A video compilation of the footage I took at the 2017 St. Paul Women’s March
A woman posing with a statue of a man wearing the Women’s March trademark pussy hat and holding an “I’m with her.” poster.
The 2017 Women’s March – St. Paul, MN
On January 21st, 2017 90,000 men and women came together in downtown St. Paul to march for women’s rights and in defiance of Trump’s recent election. I—as well as my partner, Jaime, my roommate, Karen, and her aunt—planned to take the bus to the march’s meeting place at St. Paul College. We learned soon enough that everyone had the same idea as us, so while we waited for the bus, buses chalk-full of people heading to the march passed by, each busload screaming “yahoo” from the window. When the third full bus passed by, Jaime, Karen, her aunt, and I decided to order an Uber. Within 10 minutes, an Uber arrived and we all crammed into the car—including a woman who also happened to be waiting at the bus stop with us. The traffic was uncharacteristically bad for a Saturday morning, which only meant there would be a fantastic turnout for the Women’s March.
A chocolate shop store front with a message on the door saying, “Gone to Protest!”
Marchers with the St. Paul’s Cathedral in the background. This was just before the march.Marchers with the Minnesota State Capitol Building in the background.
There was a lot of energy and excitement in the air as we marched down John Ireland Boulevard. People were chanting and holding their signs with pride as we marched toward the Capitol Building. The turnout was out of this world and it filled my heart with joy to look ahead and behind me to see thousands of men and women, all marching for women’s rights. I had marched previous to this—for Black Lives Matter—but this was the first time I wasn’t only an ally, I was marching for a cause that directly affects me. I was marching to tell Congress, the Senate, and our President-elect, that I want women’s rights to be respected and acknowledged in current and future legislation. I marched because I want equal pay for all women. I marched because I want women’s reproductive health to be funded and accessible to all women. I marched because I want the men—and women—who govern our country to understand that women need to be represented better so that male-dominated senates and houses don’t push legislation that negatively affects women’s rights. I marched for a lot of things and it was empowering to march with these thoughts in mind and to know that everyone marching with me all want the same thing.
Women’s March protesters congregated to the Minnesota State Capitol Building for a rally. Music was played and speeches were made by female political leaders—including a speech by Ilhan Omar, the first Somali-American legislator in the USA.
While marching, it was hard not to think of my experiences marching for Black Lives Matter (BLM). I spent time looking around at all the protesters, seeing the diversity of people who showed up for the march. To be honest, though, it was a very white march—”white” meaning the color of people’s skin. I considered this and thought back on the protests I attended for Black Lives Matter. While marching for BLM, I didn’t witness any police brutality or unfriendliness, but there was an obvious tension in the air. At the Women’s March, I saw police officers being very friendly, some even posing for pictures wearing the Women’s March trademark pussy hat. I didn’t feel any tension at all in the air. It made me think back on the protests/marches for Jamar Clark and Philando Castille. There were smaller numbers of people at each of those marches, but if 90,000 folks showed up for a BLM march, would of the police of acted the same way? Honestly, I don’t think they would have. I think there would have been more police, more guns, and a visceral tension in the air. It’s important to recognize these things and to understand that though marching for women’s rights is very important, we must consider and acknowledge our privilege as white folks.
January 21, 2017 – Women’s March – St. Paul, MNNovember 15, 2015 – Justice for Jamar March – Minneapolis, MN
A bit of a contrast, no?
Until the 2018 elections (and of course, the 2020 presidential election), we must continue fighting for the things we believe in. Everyone has different ideas and beliefs in what to fund or fight for, which is a beautiful thing. I have friends who are fighting for women’s rights, black rights, gay rights, latino/a rights, liberal arts funding, environment and climate reform, renewable energy reform, immigration reform, and a whole bunch of other stuff. Find what you care about and get involved. Join a group, fund an organization—Amerian Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Black Lives Matter, and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) are just a few—or get involved in your local government to make a direct impact in your district.
Let’s keep fighting. And thanks for reading.
The one selfie that was taken at the Women’s March.