Women’s March calls for change and unity


Meredith Rathburn

Protesters pose for a photo Jan. 19 in front of a plush vagina at the Montpelier Women’s March. Various organizations participated, marching in support of women and marginalized communities.

Anna Kolosky, Staff Writer

On a frigid Saturday morning, a crowd of over 700 braved the 7 degree cold to protest in Vermont’s capital.

The front lawn of the State House in Montpelier was packed with crowds who stood in support of women and marginalized communities for the Jan. 19 Women’s March.

Ben & Jerry’s employees asked passersby to name a woman who inspires them in exchange for cookie dough pint slices.

March-goers were also encouraged to be “reborn” by walking through a giant cloth vulva, and those who did were rewarded with chocolate vulvas from local chocolatier Nutty Steph’s.

Some people held signs protesting issues, like reproductive rights, while groups like Planned Parenthood collected signatures.

Amidst the hum of the crowd, activists like Kiah Morris, Melody Walker Brook and Amanda Garces took turns discussing their individual purposes for speaking on the stagee.

The speakers came from various backgrounds and spoke out against specific issues.

“Political courage is the ability to push forth policy that is responsive to the people’s needs, regardless of its consequence,” Morris said.

Morris also said that as a woman, and specifically as a woman of color, her courage must work towards the eradication of issues of race, gender inequality, class inequality and the promotion of our human and civil rights.

In addition to Morris’ call to action, Abenaki speaker Walker Brook condemned various injustices such as anti-Semitism and racism. She also urged the crowd to help destroy hateful thinking and promote positive action.

Garces echoed this with her speech. She focused on exposing the struggles of migrants and the abuse they face when seeking a better life.

Garces went through a list of immigrants who lost their lives attempting to cross the border, and stated her fear about their stories being lost or forgotten.

Despite a message of acceptance and respect, the Women’s March is currently facing allegations of anti-Semitism, according to a Jan. 19 Vox article.

The criticism began in February 2018 when Women’s March co-chair Tamika Mallory attended an event where minister Louis Farrakhan made anti-Semitic remarks, according to the article.

Mallory visited UVM in March 2017 with Women’s March co-chair Bob Bland.

UVM students who attended the march in Montpelier thought that the Women’s March did a good job having a wide array of people appear at this year’s event.

“I was really impressed by the diverse group of speakers,” sophomore Paloma Wallace said. “I really wasn’t expecting to hear so many different people speak, especially in such a white state.”

Sophomore Becca Turley added that she enjoyed the number of issues that were discussed such as disability, mental illness and gender identity.