W MI Women’s Marches urge unity, eye midterms

Grand Rapids, Women's March
The Women's March in downtown Grand Rapids, starting at Rosa Parks Circle, on Jan. 21, 2018. (Michael Buck/WOOD TV8)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Hundreds gathered in Grand Rapids and thousands in Kalamazoo Sunday to participate in Women’s Marches as part of the international movement‘s second year.

This year, the marches also promoted “Power to the Polls,” which urges women to get out and vote for change and equal rights for all.

“Grab ’em by the midterms,” one popular sign at the event in downtown Grand Rapids read.

“In 289 days, we will vote. Nasty women are the antidote,” another, also referencing the 2016 presidential election, said.

Many of the demonstrators who gathered at Rosa Parks Circle carried signs, most of which were homemade.

“Voting is my superpower,” another sign said.

Others criticized President Donald Trump or defended federal protections for child immigrants.

“I’m out here today for equal rights for everyone. We are a country of immigrants and no one should not be welcomed here. That’s what we are. Build a longer table, not a wall,” one marcher said.

In Kalamazoo, the march’s message was one of unity. Demonstrators nearly 3,000 strong, according to organizers, started at Western Michigan University and headed down Michigan Avenue to Bronson Park, where they turned around.

“We’re trying to push for intersectionality, we can’t leave anyone behind, so we need to unite no matter what community we’re in,” marcher Jes Weber said.

“I was born into a typical macho Mexican family and that’s just not my thing, so I’m here to support my rights,” demonstrator Maria Sevedo said.

“I have always felt that Kalamazoo has always been an important community for change and development,” another participant, Laurie Moore, said. “It’s our way of being part of the bigger picture.”

Kalamazoo police were out on the street to keep an eye on things, but no major incidents were reported.

The Grand Rapids event was also peaceful.

>>App users: See photos of the Grand Rapids march