While President Trump lied about the size of his Inaugural crowd, women and folks who like women marched in support of women’s rights and in protest of the threat President Trump raised their voices on the streets of major cities around the world yesterday.
Four South Dakota cities saw Women’s Marches yesterday. KELO-TV reports 3,300 protestors marched in downtown Sioux Falls. Almost 1,000 turned out in Rapid City. Organizers say over 500 marched in Vermillion. Protestors also took to the Capitol steps in Pierre.
Why do thousands of South Dakotans go outside to holler in January?
“I am worried about Trump’s negative behaviors. It’s like he’s endorsing male power and control, and that scares me,” [Lisa Ricci] said. “I wonder how many women in our community are going to be affected specifically by intimate partner violence, especially when our leader is misogynistic” [Kelsey Sinclair, “Rapid City Joins in March for Women’s Rights,” Rapid City Journal, 2017.01.22].
Alexandria Schoenberner shares these photos from the Rapid City march:
As the GOP spin machine co-opts feminist language to scare Legislative sexual harassment victims into silence, Rapid City activist Melanie Hurley reclaims her voice and calls on every so-far shy South Dakotan to do the same:
I realized today that I have censored myself for years on end because of living in a very red South Dakota confrontational place where fear of your [employer retaliating] against you for your views are very real and do regularly occur, for fear of friends misunderstanding my drive and need to speak up for others and myself, and for fear not being supported in using my voice.
I realized I did this to protect myself, my career and my family and to respect my friends and community who I know many think and hold very different political views from myself.
But, I understand now that by me not using my voice, allowed my community, neighbors, state and country to believe that people like me are in the few. I discovered that I have been disrespecting my own soul and spirit in my own fear of causing a scene or having some family feel that I am too strong in my stances.
I have been reminded that even as a child I stood up for others fiercely. I followed the wind into the woods on my own and discovered mountain tops with no fear of being lost. I fought with the teachers for picking on students and yet I became mostly silent over all these years.
I made my voice heard these last two years in standing up for the rights of Native Americans, for the rights of disabled children, and the rights of those who have less than ourselves and it did not go well. It strengthened my belief in my fear of speaking up.
But, I have discovered that because of me not doing this there have been over a million of us doing this same thing all this time. Taking it in the chin, dusting ourselves off, getting up and taking it in the chin again.
I don’t believe this is political because I believe our human, civil rights and earth rights are at the foundation of our survival. I believe saving a buck on the back of your neighbor who is struggling is harmful, hurtful and disrespectful to our human spirit.
I stood up and marched today because I have witnessed the shattering of my heart and my family’s hearts because of a hateful crime. A crime only action, courage and love, tremendous love can cure. I am reminded who I am today because I stood up for others and myself today. Fear and hate will not prevail without my voice and many others respectfully fighting against HATE [Melanie Hurley, Facebook post: Women’s March on Washington—Black Hills, 2017.01.21].
It’s easy for Trumpists and other bullies to marginalize and silence one opponent at a time. But when thousands of good people link arms and march and speak together, they can beat the bullies. In numbers, we find strength and victory.