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Marching through the skywalk

"Duluth is awake" reads a sign carried by one of the estimated 1,400 people who walked through the skywalk on Jan. 21 as part of the Women's March. (Photo by Teri Cadeau)1 / 6
"Let's Make America Decent" and "Sponsored by: Old Ladies for Decency" reads one marcher's sign at the Women's March on Jan. 21.2 / 6
During the Women's March, Ashley LaPlante holds her sign high above her head while walking through the Skywalk, not far from Technology Village. Her sign reads "I want substantive change but will settle for you not killing us." (Photo by Teri Cadeau)3 / 6
Gilbert resident Lisa Hesse holds a sign outside of Pizza Luce which reads "Liberty and justice for all!!" She drove 60 miles to take part in the Women's March on Jan. 21. (Photo by Teri Cadeau)4 / 6
School board member Rosie Loeffler-Kemp and Congdon Park Elementary fifth-grader Mary Boyle hold a sign reading "Let us not grow weary in doing good" shortly after the rally at Technology village following the Women's March. (Photo by Teri Cadeau)5 / 6
Charlie Johnson and the other members of the UMD branch of the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group, hold up signs on the corner of Lake Avenue and Superior Street following the march. (Photo by Teri Cadeau)6 / 6

An estimated 1,400 people marched through the skywalk downtown on Jan. 21 as part of a local solidarity march, held at the same time as the Women’s March in Washington D.C.

Marchers gathered in the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center to walk through the skywalk to the Technology Village for a rally. Several local leaders such as school board member Rosie Loeffler-Kemp spoke at the rally.

“We are marching for our children, for our future, for all the women who have come before us, and we’re marching to protect all that we have worked so hard to achieve already,” Loeffler-Kemp said.

Each participant had his or her own reason for being there. University of Minnesota Duluth student Charlie Johnson said his student organization, the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group at UMD, MPIRG, joined in for a myriad of reasons.

“We’re here for women’s rights, for trans rights, for people of color, diverse people living in Duluth and all people who are affected by the recent election,” Johnson said. “I hope that we build community and get visibility for a variety of intersectional issues that impact women.”

Others, such as Heather Bradford, were marching with the hopes of “revitalizing the feminist movement.” She stood on the corner of Lake Avenue and Superior Street following the march with a “Smash Patriarchy!” sign.

“I’m a feminist and I marched for things like equal wages, reproductive rights, ending sexual harassment,” Bradford said.

She knew she wouldn’t be able to march in Washington D.C., so she searched online for a local march.

“It was really amazing to just see the hundreds of people who came out here today. I thought there’d maybe be 200 people. But 1,400 is astonishing,” Bradford said.

Suzie Baer had hoped to be at the march in the Twin Cities, but icy roads deterred her trip.

“I’m actually kind of glad because this was so much more than I’d thought,” Baer said as she stood on the corner of Lake Avenue and Superior Street with other protesters. “I hope this shows the nation and the world that we’re here and we’re not going to be quiet. We’re not going to be violent, but we’re going to be heard.”

Gilbert resident Lisa Hesse’s daughter made it to the march in Minneapolis and was sending her updates throughout the day.

“She said she ended up walking quite a ways because there were just so many people,” Hesse said.

Hesse heard about the march in Duluth from a co-worker and prepared her sign the night before. Her sign read “Liberty and justice for all!!”

“Because that’s what we’re all about, having room in our society for everyone. We’re not focused on being anti-Trump, but we’re against policies that hurt people,” Hesse said. “I think that’s the tone of the whole march. People were respectful, positive and that made it very uplifting.”

Duluthian Amy Peterson agreed.

“It was energizing,” Peterson said.

Peterson was marching for LGBTQI rights, for young adult cancer survivors who are affected by the Affordable Care Act, women and social justice.

“I think it [the march] is important to show our young people in the country what democracy looks like,” Peterson said.

Although the march and rally was wrapped up by 12:30 p.m., Loeffler-Kemp said she hopes the march will have lasting effects.

“What I urge people to remember is that we can march today, and we did, but we need to organize and be active tomorrow,” Loeffler-Kemp said.

Teri Cadeau

Teri Cadeau is a reporter for the Budgeteer.

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