On January 20, 2018, Des Moines joined the world by holding a rally for women. Women’s rallies and marches took place all across the country on this day. The day stood as a celebration for last year’s “Women’s March on Washington,” but also represented the new fight for women’s rights that will be taking place in 2018.
Two Urbandale High School sophomores, Bickley Riley and Ana Leaverton, attended the rally this past weekend. “When I first arrived, I felt excited to be around people who are just as passionate as I am. I was amazed at all the support the march got, and all the different people that were there,” says Riley. The crowd was very eclectic, ranging from three year olds to campaign volunteers for the upcoming elections and everyone in between. “My experience was definitely based around the people I met. Everywhere you go there is someone that wants to stop and talk to you about your sign or ask what your opinion is on different social topics or just take a pictures with you. The people that show up are what makes the women’s march an amazing experience,” Riley explained.
The event consisted of various female speakers from different areas on the fight. The event started with a welcome and a speech from Chelsea Chism, a Planned Parenthood volunteer. Chism discussed the importance of accessible family services. Next, Liz Bennett, a candidate for the the Iowa House in District 65 discussed her agenda and what she plans to do in the house when elected. Third, Dema Kazkaz, a Syrian-American activist, president of an Islamic center and employee at Hawkeye Community College. Kazkaz spoke for the underrepresentation of Islamic women and the need for more rights. Robin White, an LGBTQIA activist, discussed the importance of black trans women and the oppression they have been recently under.
Next, Cecilia Martinez, a DACA recipient, gave a testimony on her fight for all DACA recipients. She stressed how and what she will be doing to ensure the safety of thousands of DACA recipients. The last speaker of the event was Christine Nobiss, Plains Cree-Saulteaux
from the George Gordon First Nation in Saskatchewan. She detailed the oppression indigenous people have been feeling since the beginning of colonialism. Nobiss not only gave an emotional speech, but educated many ignorant people on the oppression of indigenous people.
The rally ended with a spoken word poem by Movement 515’s, Shaddai Johnson, and a call to people everywhere: “If you can’t hear our voice, hear our vote.”