By Chanel Stitt
The weather was perfect, the positivity was flowing, and everyone was pumped for the rally. A speaker came to the podium and the crowd erupted in cheers. All of their signs went up into the air and they began chanting “women unite, save our rights!”
The Women’s March on Lansing was held on the steps of the capitol building, with thousands of people standing in the walkways leading up to the capitol.
“Each individual city has their own individual problems that they face,” said Chad Michael Guerrant, one of the event’s staff members. “Inequalities and injustices that are happening against women, African Americans and Latinos. Those equalities need to be addressed.”
Speakers and government officials such as Gretchen Whitmer and Dr. Farha Abbasi gave their motivational speeches about how to take action for women’s rights.
Whitmer, who is running for Michigan governor as a Democrat candidate, spoke to reassure people that even though we may currently be full of fear, we can all stand up and fight for what’s right. She says that we should not root for the president to fail.
“We have a president who is a man who through his own actions and words has shown such disrespect for the rule of law, our core constitutional principles of equality for everyone of us, for the freedom of speech, for your freedom of religion, for the freedom of the press, and behavior that we know is downright shocking and dangerous,” said Whitmer. “Behavior that we never want our children to emulate.”
She also told the women’s rights supporters that the crowd at Lansing was twice as big as the inauguration attendance.
Dr. Farha Abbasi, MSU Psychiatrist and Muslim Mental Health editor and conference coordinator, had the supporters full attention during her speech. The crowd loved her personality and cheered after every sentence.
“They say a political storm is brewing,” said Dr. Abbasi. “I say look up…The storm is already here. We are the storm.”
Deeper in the crowd were multiple individuals who had a story about why they came to participate in this march. Many inspirational stories of people conquering their fears and standing up for others.
Mare Martell, a resident of Grand Rapids representing her church in Tennessee, came to the Women’s March on Lansing with her sign attached to her body that read ‘This is not a good sign.’
“I’m a human being, everybody here is a human being,” said Martell. “I’m terrified of everything getting taken away, our health care, our women’s rights, our LGBTQ, Black Lives Matter. It’s human rights. That is what I’m here for.”
Cybil Liberties goes to many events dressed in a full patriotic outfit but she recently received negative responses to her unique look. Negative things were said about her after being put on a newspage and some responses were rape and death threats.
“I thought the only way to really conquer that fear was to go head on with it. I decided today it was maybe the most important day of protests that I’ve been involved with because I feel like my turf is being invaded.”
She has been dressing up for 20 years and the crowd in Lansing seemed to enjoy her. Several pictures surfaced on Facebook with Liberties posing with the supporters.
The crowd dispersed several hours later and left everyone to reflect on what progress can be made in the future. More marches are being planned across the nation every month with different themes. The month of February will be focused on Planned Parenthood.
The women’s march on Lansing has now created a ten day plan in which every ten days, there will be a new step that Michigan residents can help to take action. More information can be found on their website at marchonlansing.org