While each person had their own reasons for marching, the mission of the Women’s Marches on North Dakota was to bring people together to take a stand on issues that deeply impact us all. The marches sought to reaffirm the core American values of freedom and democracy for all at a time when many fear that their voices will be lost. Women’s rights, immigrant rights, worker rights, reproduction rights, LGBTQIA rights, environmental rights, rights for all feeling threatened by the agenda of the new administration. Women, girls, men, boys and all gender identities of all ages were encouraged to march. Locally, marches took place in both Fargo, ND and Bismarck, ND.
Attendees in Fargo gathered just off of Broadway downtown at the Revland Gallery right at 10:00am. Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota Action Fund volunteers crowd canvassed folks to pledge #IStandWithPP. A short program was held from 10 until10:30 a.m. The program featured a variety of speakers on several different issues, including our own Education and Outreach Specialist, Kailyn! Following the program, the march went south on Broadway to NP Avenue, crossed Broadway to the other sidewalk, and headed North to 4th Avenue North and back to the Revland Gallery. Marchers were invited inside afterwards to warm up with a hot beverage. It has been estimated that around 3,000 people attended the march in Fargo.
Bismarck attendees had a bit of a different experience that morning. Many attendees woke up early to carpool across the state. Others signed up to ride a bus from Fargo to the state capitol in Bismarck. The bus departed at 9 a.m. and arrived in Bismarck just before the 1 p.m. start time. Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota Action Fund volunteers crowd canvassed folks to pledge #IStandWithPP. The program started with speakers from a variety of organizations in North Dakota. Our own Action Fund Manager of Advocacy and Development, Amy Jacobson, was one of the many wonderful and influential speakers. Around 2 p.m., attendees marched south from the capitol to the highway and back to the state library. Attendees were invited to stop by the UU Church for snacks after the march. By 3 p.m., marchers were back on the bus and headed back to Fargo. Current estimates show that around 700 people attended the Women’s March on Bismarck.
As we stood in crowds of people in our communities, we felt empowered. Walking with people who refused to be silenced by hatred left us with warm hearts and hope for the future. Don’t believe anyone who says that you can’t make a difference, because you ARE making a difference.
Take the inspiration you have after the Women’s March and run with it – organize an event or group of people to work for change in the community; call or write to your representatives about your concerns; encourage your friends and family to become activists on the issues they care about. Stay involved as much as you can for the next four years (and beyond). We’re all in this together.