Refreshed Resistance: Local Women’s March II shows resolve for change

Kali Katerberg/Daily Mining Gazette With a spring in their steps, Houghton marchers joined a massive nationwide demonstration calling for a renewal of democracy.

HOUGHTON — Participants came dressed in pink hats with signs in tow to the second sister march Sunday.

Some participants speculated there was an even larger turnout than last year’s march, which attracted an estimated crowd of 500 participants.

While the marchers advocated for a wide range of topics, two major themes were community and “power to the polls.”

“Register to vote,” march organizer Susan Burack, told the crowd. “We want you to run for office. We march in our community because we make a difference here. You are the change, be the change.

“We can reimagine the future of our community.”

Kali Katerberg/Daily Mining Gazette Marchers head for the Portage Lake Lift Bridge waving to passersby.

The march was led to the Portage Lake Lift Bridge by a group that traveled to Washington, D.C., for last year’s Women’s March, which was held the day after the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States.

Joan Chadde was one of that group.

“A lot of people are going to run for public office,” she said. “They know they can’t be complacent, so I think we’re already seeing a real uptick in interest. It’s much more diverse, and more women are running for office, and that’s great to see. We’ve got to speak up, and we’ve got to do the work … Democracy is work — stay informed, get involved.”

Attendees were wide-ranging in age. Families, children and even a dog made the trip across the bridge, with cars honking in support as they passed.

Many participants felt the march gave them a sense of unity and togetherness.

Kali Katerberg/Daily Mining Gazette Women’s March organizer Susan Burack addresses marchers on Sunday.

“Last year I was so depressed and upset and in despair, after the inauguration speech in particular, that I came without planning to. …When I came here, I found people of spirit with funny signs, good-natured laughing together, uniting in common purpose larger than our petty differences,” said one participant who didn’t want to be named.

“Look at how cheerful people are,” one marcher said, echoing the sentiments of several others.

Subjects of desired change included women’s rights, re-implementation of DACA, pure democratic voting and environmental concerns.

A few signs read, “Girls just wanna have fundamental rights,” “Radical Empathy,” “No one is illegal” and “Grab ’em by the ballot box.”

The women’s march wasn’t the only demonstration taking place on the bridge Sunday. Across the road, a group of pro-life advocates stood with a sign reading “Thou shalt not kill” and “Stop calling child-sacrifice choice,” protesting the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade ruling.

“(We want) to stand up for the unborn children who can’t stand up for themselves,” said protester Daniel Niemela.