On Saturday, March 16, marchers coming from as far away as northern Ohio and central Michigan will gather at the University of Michigan for the third annual Women’s March in Ann Arbor. The 2019 March is named “Women March On for Justice.”
Honoring Women’s History Month and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who turns 86 the day before the March, the event–which includes music, a rally, a march, and tabling by several student and community groups–will uphold social, gender, racial, economic, and environmental justice in a time when they are under serious attack.
Brooke Lehmann, a University of Michigan School of Nursing graduate student, and founding member of an organization partnering to organize the event, Women March On-Washtenaw, states of her reasons for organizing the March: “The women’s march is a movement that demands justice for the least in society by fighting for the rights of the most marginalized individuals. This movement turns the deep desires we share for freedom and equality for all into action for every single person regardless of race, gender, sexuality, class, or belief. It is a movement that exists deep within our hearts and belongs to every one of us who chooses to take up her cause. The camaraderie and hope that was birthed from the first march is now a wave of women, femmes, and allies taking action to realize the change we seek in our communities and country.”
Many marchers plan to wear purple or green in honor of Women’s History Month. Others plan to wear black in honor of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Signs, posters, and banners are encouraged at this community event. There will be opportunities to make signs at the event itself. Attendance is expected to be strong, with over 1,300 signed up as attending on Facebook, and another 10,000 indicating interest.
The March begins at 1:30 at the University of Michigan’s Diag, with sign making, singalong folk music played by Jeanne Mackey and Friends, and sign-ups for student and community groups including Students Against Rape at the University of Michigan, College Democrats at the University of Michigan, Michigan Resistance, the Washtenaw County Democrats, and more. Shortly before 2:00, students along with community and labor organizers will lead chants. At 2:00, the rally portion of the event begins. Speakers include several University of Michigan students: spoken word poet Arwa Gayar; Native Justice Coalition Ambassador and member of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe Samara Jackson Tobey; Social Work grad student in the Jewish Communal Leadership program Lauren Fine; and Ruby Schneider, President of the College Democrats at the University of Michigan. Other speakers include: Congresswoman Debbie Dingell; EMU senior and Fellow with the Michigan Student Power Network Sanyu Lukwago; community advocate and radio host Michelle Elizabeth Brown; Interfaith Council for Peace & Justice Co-Director Desirae Simmons; disability advocate and Chair of the Michigan Democratic Party Disability Caucus Amy Benchich; and Ann Arbor YMCA CEO Toni Kayumi. Speakers will be addressing justice issues including the need to empower women, gender and mental health, missing and abused indigenous women, the fight for the Equal Rights Amendment, and more.
After the rally, the march portion of the event will officially begin, leaving from the Diag at approximately 2:45 p.m. The march will end around 3:30 p.m., back in the Diag, with chants and with closing remarks by the March’s lead organizers, President of the Progressives at the University of Michigan Michael Briggs, and Chair of the Ann Arbor Women’s March organization Michelle Deatrick.
Briggs says of his motivation for co-organizing the March: “A dangerous precedent is set when our President has bragged about sexually assaulting women on tape, has 19 separate accusations of sexual assault / harassment against him, and has successfully appointed an accused rapist onto the Supreme Court with the power to decide what a woman can do with her own body. With this March, we hope to unite people of all backgrounds, creeds, economic classes, sexual and gender identities to send a clear message that we stand together in this fight for justice.”
Deatrick, a member of the Democratic National Committee and Midwest Representative to the DNC’s Women’s Caucus and a former Washtenaw County Commissioner, states: “Many have called 2018 the ‘Year of the Women,’ and there are important successes to celebrate, including the elections of women to the offices of governor, secretary of state, and attorney general right here in Michigan. Those successes were supported by an incredible wave of activism that deserves celebration as well, much of it from grassroots work done by women, and especially the women of color who have long been the backbone of America’s progressive energy. But we have a long way to go. Women still hold less than one-third of the seats in state legislatures nationally, and less than one-fourth of Congressional seats. Men dominate every form of American media, shaping public thought and discourse. Women–and especially women of color–are still paid vastly less than men for the same work. The Equal Rights Amendment still has not passed. And so we march on, in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in the movement to uphold justice and equity for all people, of all genders, races, and generations.”
Lineup of speakers:
* Spoken Word Poet & UM student Arwa Gayar;
* Progressives at the Univ. of Michigan President Michael Briggs;
* Congresswoman Debbie Dingell;
* Community Organizer and Interfaith Council for Peace & Justice Co-Director Desirae Simmons;
* College Democrats at the University of Michigan President Ruby Schneider
* UM Social Work graduate student in the Jewish Communal Leadership Program Lauren Fine;
* Community Advocate & Radio Host Michelle Elizabeth Brown;
* Community Diversity Activist and CEO, Ann Arbor YMCA Toni Kayumi;
* MI Dem. Party Disability Caucus Chair Amy Benchich;
* UM student Samara Tobey;
* EMU senior & Fellow with the Michigan Student Power Network Sanyu Lukwago.
LOCATION: Gather in the Diag at the Univ. of Michigan.
The “Diag” is located at the center of the U-M central campus, just north of South University Street, just east of State Street, and just south of North University (you will also see people with signs walking there!)
PARKING: Allow time for parking. Here is the City of Ann Arbor’s Parking Information: http://rpsa2.com/Location-and-Rates. The Maynard Structure is large & about a 3 block flat walk to the Diag.
1:30-1:55 MUSIC & TABLING! Jeanne Mackey and Friends will leading sing-along folk songs and protest music.
Tables will include: sign-making (first-come-first-served, materials limited), & sign-ups for student and community organizations supporting the mission of the Women’s March, including the Progressives at the University of Michigan, College Democrats at the University of Michigan, Students Against Rape at the University of Michigan, the Ann Arbor YMCA, Michigan Resistance, and the Washtenaw County Democratic Party.
1:55-2:00 CHANTS led by student and labor organizers.
2:00 RALLY. Speakers (see above).
2:45. MARCH (begins and ends in Diag).
3:30. FINAL CHANTS & CALLS TO ACTION
3:45 EVENT ENDS