A Women’s March was held in Bronson Park on Saturday, Oct. 17 to honor the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died last month, and protest Trump’s push to fill her seat.
The Kalamazoo march was one of hundreds of Women’s Marches held across the country, supporting social change and education on a number of issues including environmental justice and immigrant rights.
Organizers Michelle Zukowski-Serlin and Jo Morgan wanted to create a safe environment for people to come out and let their voice be heard. Social distancing was enforced and masks were worn throughout the event.
Zukowski-Serlin said the intention of the rally was not only to energize and excite people to go out and vote, but to also prevent the undoing of progress made by leaders.
“We want love, we want to unite the country, we want to bring people together not drive them apart,” Zukowski-Serlin said.
Music played from the stage and the crowd danced and shouted, expressing joy and anticipation in the days leading up to the election.
Individuals took the stage and spoke on topics including environmental issues, women’s health care, civil rights, equal pay and violence.
Volunteers counted as 1103 people began to march down the streets of Kalamazoo chanting “Say it loud. Say it clear. Immigrants are welcome here.”
Among many city leaders who attended the march, Kalamazoo Mayor David Anderson said it is important to vote for the kind of country and community that is best for its citizens.
“I believe that if smart people do the profoundly important work that they are supposed to be doing, that the results of that should continue to be balanced,” Anderson said.
Morgan said the large turnout conveyed exhaustion of the hate and division created by the country continually being torn apart.
“I think it’s very evident that people have had enough, and they are saying ‘you know we can do better,” Morgan said. “We are better than this’ and I think that’s going to show up in the polls.”
Zukowski-Serlin said roughly a third of the participants in the march were men. She believes it is important for men to stand beside the women in their lives.
“Men are an important part of the process,” Zukowski-Serlin said. “My husband was in every single meeting, helping every step of the way.”
The Women’s March strives to harness the political power women and their communities to create transformative social change, according to their website.
“The community of women in the United States needs to come together right now,” said Valerie Gipper, a student at Western Michigan University. “We need all of us together to do this.”