By Mrinal Gokhale
Thousands of women gathered to participate in the first Women’s March in Milwaukee on Sat., January 20. At 10 am, a rally gathered at the Milwaukee County Courthouse at 901 N. 9th St. Before marching to the Wisconsin Center on 400 W. Wisconsin Ave, different community leaders and politicians spoke on the importance of this movement.
Among the first to speak was Senator Lena Taylor, the second African American woman to serve in the Wisconsin state senate.
“We have come a long way since what has happened in D.C.,” she said. “It was truly a march that was one of the largest among the world.”
For Judge Rebecca Dallet, the march holds significance to her passion for helping women who survived domestic violence. She stated that she is running for Wisconsin Supreme Court.
“I am a mother of three and a judge, and I’ve spent my life empowering women,” she said.
With music playing in the background, different women were seen holding signs like “Make America Think Again,” “Nasty Woman,” and “Black Lives Matter.” Although the Women’s March originated in Washington, D.C. last year, this is the first time the march came to Milwaukee. Last year in Wisconsin, the march took place in Madison.
Once the march reached the Wisconsin Center, the building reached maximum capacity, according to Amy Dean, a board member of the Women’s March chapter in Wisconsin.
“In November 2017, Wisconsin became of the last states to get a chapter since the march began in D.C. last year,” she said.
Inside the Wisconsin Center, different local organizations spoke on issues facing the Milwaukee and Wisconsin area, such as sex worker’s rights, human trafficking, infant mortality, and police brutality.
In the room next to these speeches, numerous local community organizations and businesses staffed tables, ranging from nonprofits to vendors to social justice movements.
For example, author Adah Rawlings educated attendees and promoted her book “Not My Autobiography, but My Testimony.” She stated that the book details her personal story of surviving domestic abuse and is newly available in book stores.
Some other businesses and organizations included Voces de la Frontera, UBLAC, FORGE, Women’s Voices of Wisconsin, Papyrus and Charms Jewelry, Disability Rights Wisconsin, Nourishing Naturals Skincare, Planned Parenthood, and many more.
The Women’s March is a women-led national movement with the mission to harness the political power of diverse women. Though intended to mainly empower women of color, women and individuals of all backgrounds have celebrated.
This year in Wisconsin, Eau Claire and Green Bay also held marches.
More information on the movement can be found at womensmarch.com.