A sea of pink hats and multi-colored signs surrounded the Capitol, as thousands of protesters gathered in downtown St. Paul on Jan. 21 for the Women’s March Minnesota. Crowds were over five times the expected amount, with police confirming the organizer’s estimate of between 90,000 and 100,000. Many of those 90,000+ were members of the St. Paul Academy and Summit School community.
Akpa, who attended the march with friends, described the emotions of the event as being high, as “everyone in the crowd seemed to be really excited to be there.”
The event took place in response to the inauguration of the 45th President, Donald Trump on Jan. 20. Minneapolis’s march and rally was one of over 370 sister marches across the United States, and over 600 worldwide, with the main one taking place in Washington, D.C.
Protesters gathered at St. Paul College at 10 a.m. before making their way down to the St. Paul Capitol for a rally, with crowds stretching all the way from the State Capitol to Cathedral Hill.
“Attending the march was incredibly moving, although I wish I could have gotten closer to the front because there were a ton of people there,” senior Emily Dieperink said. Dieperink attended the march and rally with both friends and family members.
“It was just awesome seeing all the little girls, all the older, tough grandmas, all the guys who were there. It was just amazing, I was tearing up the entire time.”
At the rally part of the event, crowds were addressed by a variety of speakers, including Minnesota Senator Patricia Torres Ray, Minnesota Senator Sandy Pappus, Minnesota Representative Ilhan Ohmar, President & CEO of Planned Parenthood Minnesota Sarah Stoesz, Ann Bancroft of the Ann Bancroft Foundation, Minnesota House Minority Speaker of the House Melissa Hortman, and Trista Matascastillo of the Minnesota Humanities Center. Entertainment was provided by Chastity Brown, Maria Isa, K.Raydio, and the Prairie Fire Lady Choir .
Protesters wore pink, cat eared hats as a statement responding to the resurgence of remarks recorded in 2005 where Trump discusses grabbing women by their genitalia, referred to by the P-word.
The leaders of the march are advocating for sustained action of resistance against the Trump administration, with the initiative “10 Actions for the first 100 Days”. Starting immediately after the event, the leaders will post a new action in theme with the group’s platform every 10 days. The first action is for participators to write postcards to their Senators about any issue they feel strongly about.
“[During Trump’s term] I really want to attend a protest or raise awareness of environmental change,” Akpa said.
While it remains to be seen how the 10 actions/100 days initiative plays out, it is hard to dismiss the bold message of resistance that the greater than expected turnout of the march sent to the new Trump administration, which was the aim of the event.
“I [marched because I] think we need to show our President that we’re not going to take his actions lying down,” Dieperink said.
Photos of the HerSpace marchers with their posters @TheRubiconSPA on Twitter.