Wayne community members continue to build on the Women’s March

Brianna Parsons, Reporter

People all across Wayne stood up for their beliefs by marching down Main Street in Wayne from the Kanter Student Center on the Wayne State College campus on Saturday.

Participants had the opportunity to decorate posters in the Student Center demonstrating what they believed in, and marching down Main Street of Wayne, Nebraska. At 11 a.m. they gathered to make their posters. At 12 p.m. they gathered together to listen to the guest speaker Heidi Oligmueller, and around 1 p.m. they began their march from the Student Center down Main Street.

Last year before the National Women’s March, Bonnie Anderson, the event co-coordinator, posted a simple question on Facebook asking if others would be interested in marching from Wayne State College to downtown Wayne.

“Originally a couple friends, co-workers, and I – who were part of the 2017 Sister March in Vermillion – were just going to walk together,” Anderson said. “We thought it would be fun to try to attract a few more people in this impromptu way.”

“I said a few words of welcome, also asking participants to shout out what they were marching for,” Anderson said about the beginning of her event last year.

At Victor Park located on S Main Street, a few guests – Joan Shapiro, Molly Herman, Edith Shapiro, Sherry Dorman, Connie Hassler – spoke spontaneously of the importance of supporting public education, affordable healthcare, economics, social justice, environmental justice and racial justice.

Following the January 2017 Women’s March, many women successfully ran for office in the 2018 mid-term elections. According to CNN, 35 women were elected to the House and 65 women were elected as incumbents.

“The original Women’s March was in response to the election of Donald Trump as President and his platform against women, persons of color, people in the LGBTQI+ community, persons with disabilities, anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim,” said Sherry Dorman, a retired educator who first marched in 1971. “Women also wanted to have greater representation at all levels of government…local, state, and national.”

The March embraces the fact that people speak out about what they are passionate about.

“It was important for us to build off the Women’s March we had in Wayne last year organized by Maureen Carrigg,” Kris Kenzie, president of the Wayne County Democrats and co-organizer of the march, said. “Just to see if we could bring more to it than the great comradery between women, but also use this day and event to enlighten the community on these important issues.”

Some of the speakers included Oligmueller, an immigration rights attorney from South Sioux City; Chris Hjelmstad pastor at Concordia Lutheran church in Concord, Ruby Kinzie eighth grade student at Wayne Middle School; Allison Lambert, President of the WSC PRIDE organization; Kenzie Osborne; representatives from other student organizations had also been invited to speak; and Dorman, a lifelong fighter for the rights of those whose voices may have been silenced.

“[We fought for] ending violence against women and females, ending state violence, reproductive rights and justice, racial justice, LGBTQIA+ rights, immigrant rights, economic justice and workers’ rights, civil rights and liberties, disability rights and environmental justice,” Dorman said.

Some of the concrete actions they identified and committed to were obtained by reaching the goal of the actions. One big action they acted upon was to become mentors and nurture leadership in young girls and women and value the wisdom of older women who fought for equality before them. The hope for an outcome is a better world for everyone to live in.

“We will tell our stories, if anyone has been a victim of sexual harassment or violence,” Dorman said. “Educate ourselves on issues and learn about other people’s experiences, we will not speak for those whose experiences are different from ours, be involved in electoral politics, avoid negative name calling, find candidates whose positions will be directed towards fairness and justice for everyone, not just the rich and powerful, and support them, and we will persist and resist policies that hurt our earth, our health, and the wellbeing of our families.”

The youngest attendee was eight years old, the next youngest was 15 and the oldest attendee was a 93-year-old Holocaust survivor.

“The only thing that l can say was truly disappointing was that though many college students passed through on their way to the cafeteria, so few were inclined to stop and listen in,” Dorman said.

“Their very futures were being discussed, the high cost of education and student debt were very much a concern of the Women’s March. We were marching for students, it’s sad that they didn’t feel the need to advocate for themselves.”

Anderson knew she was on the right track when she recieved several responses to her Facebook message. Osborne, Kinzie, and Dorman who spearheaded this year’s more elaborate event were there too.

“Maureen Carrigg, who also took photos at the event, posted a more detailed event notice when several responded with interest to my original, informal query,” Anderson said. “I informed the Wayne Herald who sent someone to cover it.”

“We were surprised that over 50 appeared at the campus roundabout. The beautiful weather was certainly a factor for the good turnout on such late notice.”

Even though Dorman has been a part of a march every year for several years now, they are still a new experience for her each time she participates.

“I am very pleased with how the march went Saturday, given the icy conditions and cold temperature,” Dorman said. “It was uplifting, positive, and the speakers spoke from their hearts with passion about the ten overriding items on the 2019 Women’s Agenda.”

Abby Cuddy