Women’s March returns to Milwaukee

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Women’s March returns to Milwaukee

Marquette students attended the Women's March at South Division High School.

Marquette students attended the Women's March at South Division High School.

Photo by Maddy Andresen

Marquette students attended the Women's March at South Division High School.

Photo by Maddy Andresen

Photo by Maddy Andresen

Marquette students attended the Women's March at South Division High School.

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On the snowy night of Friday, Jan. 17, five Marquette students met with blank posters, markers and excitement.

The group was preparing to go to the Women’s March in Milwaukee. They were Paula Paliwoda, a sophomore in the College of Education; Frannie Lambie, a first-year in the College of Arts & Sciences; Miranda Hunt, a sophomore in the College of Communication; Amy Baudhuin, a first-year in the College of Business Administration and Elizabeth Jonas, a sophomore in the College of Nursing.

They created posters, some of which said “Make America Kind Again,” “I Will Not Stop Speaking Until I Am Heard Until We Are Heard Until Things Are Changed” and “Vagina: Maybe they’re born with it, maybe it’s none of your business.”

The march, which became an indoor event due to the weather, was held Jan. 18 at South Division High School on the south side of Milwaukee. Along with about 100 attendees, Planned Parenthood and a number of Wisconsin elected officials were in attendance, as well as students from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Women’s March organization and members of Wisconsin’s Youth Climate Action Team.

The event also drew attention to climate justice, immigration, voting rights, the criminal justice system, human trafficking and various minority issues.

“This year, we’re uniting to defend our democracy, demand that our leaders hold Trump accountable, protect our planet and fight for our rights,” Sarah Pearson, co-chair of Women’s March Wisconsin, said in a press release.

In the press release, Pearson said in 2020, Women’s March is “engaging in targeted actions” that are aimed at those who impede on certain rights and “building” with those who have been at the organization’s side.

“We have seen serious attacks under our current administration but we have also seen just what we are capable of when we fight together,” Violet Kilmurray, co-chair of Women’s March Wisconsin, said in a press release.

The Milwaukee Women’s March was part of a larger movement. There were over 250 events that took place, such as rallies, voter registration drives and marches across the nation, the Women’s March organization said in an email.

The first Women’s March was held following the inauguration of President Donald Trump in January 2017. Ever since, similar events are held in late January.

Saturday’s march was the third Women’s March held in Milwaukee. There were marches previously held in 2017 and 2018, but there were no marches organized in the city in 2019.

Speakers included Angela Lang, executive director of Black Leaders Organizing for Communities, and Shannon Holsey, the president of Stockbridge-Munsee band of Mohican Indians, spoke on issues that affect women of minorities. Iuscely Flores, an undocumented community mobilizer, spoke on engaging the Milwaukee community, particularly the south side.

Devore Taylor, mother to Chrystul Kizer, also spoke. She is an incarcerated trafficking survivor who is charged with life in prison for acting in self-defense against her trafficker. Taylor became emotional as she spoke about the effect human trafficking has had on her family.

“I wanted to come because I think it’s really important to stand up for women’s rights, especially the women who can’t speak for themselves,” Baudhuin said. “Just to stand up for what we believe in.”

Jonas said she wants to be a voice for women who might not have a voice.

“Especially on Marquette’s campus,” Jonas said. “I know people are afraid to stand up for things that they believe in just because they are afraid of what others will say.”

Baudhuin said she hoped to make connections with other activists. She also emphasized protecting reproductive rights.

“They’re really important and really overlooked, especially with who’s in office right now,” Baudhuin said. “There’s a lot of misconception when it comes to that.”

Both Baudhuin and Jonas said they want to encourage people to vote, especially in swing states like Wisconsin.

“I’m excited to see a community of women come together and support each other,” Lambie said. “It’s a really cool event.”

Hunt said she was excited to get involved in the activism in Milwaukee.

“I’m excited to empower women and help enact change,” Paliwoda said.

Elizabeth Grout, a first-year in the College of Communication also attended the march.

“There’s so much the current administration is doing wrong involving equal rights,” Grout said. “There’s so many people in office right now that are trying to defund Planned Parenthood, which has done so much for women.”

Ava Bloom, a freshman in the College of Communication went to the original Women’s March in 2017 with her mom in Spokane, Washington, and she has been trying to go to every Women’s March since. She said she was there to support Planned Parenthood and to emphasize the importance of environmental justice.

Destiny DeVooght and Grace Sorenson, students at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and leaders in the UWM chapter of Women’s March-Wisconsin, led the crowd in protest chants.

“Ain’t no power like the power of the people ‘cuz the power of the people don’t stop!”

“Donald Trump, go away, racist, sexist, anti-gay!”

“Show me what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like!”

After the series of speakers, the event had two break-out sessions. One focused on learning to canvass, which is knocking on doors to encourage voting. The other focused on a “relational voter program,” which went through steps on how to talk to people in one’s own life about political causes.

This story was written by Alexa Jurado. She can be reached at alexa.jurado@marquette.edu.