Originally published January 19th, 2019
On Saturday, Jan. 19, the third annual Womxn’s March occurred at the Capitol steps, drawing hundreds—if not thousands—to rally behind the cause. The event is one of hundreds happening across the United States, and a sister to the main event held in Washington, D.C. spawned from the election of Donald Trump in 2016. This year’s Boise event featured multiple guest speakers, including former White House communications director Jennifer Palmieri, as well as a change from the event spelling of women, to womxn.
The event was held by People for Unity, in collaboration with the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence. Tanisha Newton, a senior at Boise State who worked with the Idaho Coalition’s involvement in this year’s event, spoke to the need of expanding inclusion.
“One of the things that the Women’s March has been called out for, is that it is not as inclusive as it could be,” Newton said. “So by putting the ‘x’ where the ‘e’ goes, there is symbolism that all folks are welcome here. Whether that is men who see themselves as allies, gender non-conforming folks, trans women, whoever it may be.”
Newton stated the Capitol location was chosen to reinforce this idea of inclusion and recognition, due to the symbolic source of power the building holds in the minds of locals.
“There’s been a lot of devaluation in women this year. I think a lot of them have felt overlooked, and under-heard,” Newton said. “It’s a nice opportunity to show recognition to a lot of the women who haven’t been getting recognition, and to the survivors and victims who have been targeted this year and have had the rug pulled out from under them.”
The importance of the event was echoed among the attendees, who spoke about why they decided to march this year. Monique Bettencourt, a Boise State student, mentioned her desire to fight not only for women’s equality, but also other issues such as immigrants’ rights and Black Lives Matter.
“I think it’s important to remember every single year that the fight is never really over,” Bettencourt said. “As we solve issues we still need to fight for those that don’t have a voice and can’t speak for themselves.”
Marcher Cami Nichols described the unforgettable feeling of unison amongst protesters looking to create change.
“I have always believed in equality for women, and having the opportunities to demonstrate this I think is really important,” Nichols said. “Any time you get a large group of people together that believe in the same thing it’s just a certain type of magic and it’s powerful to be here and witness.”
Friend to Nichols, Kendall Varin, spoke of the need to unite no matter what might be appearing to separate us, and why the theme of inclusion in this year’s title change matters to those marching.
“I’m here with my best friend, because we are feminists together, and it’s really cool to be surrounded by other people that want to support each other despite their differences and come together for one cause,” Varin said. “Whether that’s women supporting other women or men supporting other women, whoever it is, it’s really great.”
Echoing the reasoning behind the original creation of the march, along with more current political events, march attendee Caitlin Brunkhorst described her reasoning for joining the movement.
“I am here because Trump was boasting about grabbing genitals, and Kavanaugh was elected as supreme court judge,” Brunkhorst said. “It’s so easy for women to feel like we don’t have a place in the world. I’m here to stand with my sisters and tell them we do.”
Read the article on Arbiter Online