On Saturday, January 21 2017, a day after the presidential inauguration, many women from this area attended the Women’s March on DC and marches in sister cities near Wayne County. Rather than being a political statement, the women nearly unanimously agreed that their reasons for attending were much bigger and far more unifying.
The day after the marches, many women are still basking in the afterglow of their experiences and reflecting on the impact it has made on their lives and the reasons they were inspired to join the movement.
Erica Coulter, who works for Girls Inc in Richmond with the mission of helping girls to be ‘Strong, Smart and Bold’, attended the march in Indianapolis IN along with her mother, Sara Coulter, friends Kate Blansett and Amy Coyle and several others from Richmond.
Erica shared, “I decided to go really because of the girls I work with in Wayne County. I couldn’t face them everyday at work knowing that I didn’t join in on the effort. For me, the march …was a celebration of how incredible it is to be a girl and how powerful we can be when we come together. That is a lesson that every girl needs to know.”
She went on to share that “political affiliations aside, this event was incredibly impactful in the way that it brought such a diverse range of women and men together. We were all there supporting one another and working towards the same goal.”
Generations of women attended the marches, from young girls to seasoned women who remember the 60’s and harken to a time of early protests for equal rights for women. Some of the signs referred to that time with messages like “I can’t believe we are still marching today”. Peace signs, signs for equal pay, affordable healthcare, a healthy environment, equal education, and more are issues held up as concerns for the future of women, girls, men and boys.
One of the women who attended the Women’s March on Washington, from Richmond IN, was Tracy Taylor, along with her friend Amy Allen Sekhar and several others. Tracy supports people with disabilities through her work at the Independent Living Center. She shared her inspiration for attending by saying, “I marched not in protest but for awareness of the needs of women with disabilities and other marginalized populations.”
She was very moved by the experience as she explains “It was such a powerful event to see hundreds of thousands of people singing, dancing and just being together in a peaceful way.”
Tracy added “There were a group of 9 of us who marched. We are all of different socio economic backgrounds, religions, and varying levels of physical ability (Tracy herself was born with sacral agenesis, which is similar to Spina Bifida). “It was a life-altering moment for me and I am very proud to have been a part of it.”
Bonnie Miller who resides in New Castle but works at Richmond Civic Theatre, also attended the march in Indianapolis. She shares that she was very proud to participate in the Women’s March on Washington in Indianapolis. And, she continues, “I was stunned at the number of people there…women, men, children, dogs! All races and religions, and all gathered peacefully for not just women’s rights, but rights for all. … yesterday, so many people came together in so many places, peacefully, to make our voices heard.”
Bonnie continued, “I felt better than I have in months because of the energy and positivity of the people around me. Everyone was friendly, everyone ended the day with a smile on their face. I think everyone felt that energy.
Bonnie drove to Indianapolis from New Castle and was joined by friends from Franklin, Richmond, her hometown of Rushville, and New England.
“I’m sorry my daughters couldn’t attend with me, Bonnie added, “but I did it for them, for me, for my mother on Social Security and Medicare, for my grandsons, for everyone I care about.”
Several other women headed to Cincinnati OH for the sister march there, supporting the Women’s March in DC. There was an estimated 10,000 to 12,000 people in that rally and march- the march itself taking over two hours to complete.
Shouts of “This is what Democracy looks like!” and “No Peace…No Justice” were heard along the march with people of all races, genders and backgrounds marching peacefully together.
Mary Grace Passmore, 11, (who is also my daughter) carried a sign in Cincinnati OH that she designed herself that was a quote from a woman who inspires her, “As women we must stand up for ourselves, we must stand up for each other…we must stand up for justice for all!” – Michelle Obama. (Click here for video from the march)
Reports, from all who attended and came from this area of Indiana, were that the marches were peaceful, impactful and people attending were kind to one another and respectful. Many women who were unable to attend, like Kelly Morgan of Richmond, say they were there in spirit with their sisters united and proud to see such an outpouring of support from the many women and girls who were able to attend marches from DC to Cincinnati, and Dayton to Indianapolis.
“I’ve always been proud to be a woman. But now I’m inspired to really do something about it!” Shares Sara Coulter, who attended the march in Indianapolis IN with her daughter Erica (above). Clearly she speaks for many others who were moved by the experience, to continue the work the speakers at all the rallies across the US and the world suggested would be on-going.
An historic day for women across this country, and Wayne County women were a part of making history.
Karole Passmore is a freelance writer who enjoys writing articles and short stories, interviewing local people, and researching non-fiction subject matter– preferably historical. Graduate of RHS, Ivy Tech Richmond, and Earlham College– with a major in History, Karole has spent most of her life in Wayne County and enjoys the quaint atmosphere of a small town.
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