A wave of women and men flooded the Cache County Historic Courthouse courtyard on Saturday morning, joining the thousands marching across the country for women’s equality during the third annual Women’s March.
Although Saturday’s marches stem from the Women’s March held as a protest to the inauguration of President Donald Trump the day after he was inaugurated in 2017, this year’s “Women’s Wave” came with more diversity and focused on different issues women face.
One of the Logan Women’s March organizers, Susan Jelus, said the movement has evolved over the years.
“It started out as a fairly simple standing up for ourselves in the face of some comments made that were derogatory towards women,” Jelus said. “The second year it expanded a little bit to the #MeToo movement of sexual harassment issues. … And this year, I think it’s more about the women elected and in a position of power and what we can do to support them.”
The rally featured live music by local folk/Americana band Mama LongLegs, along with eight speakers on a range of topics. The wave of women and men then marched in downtown Logan.
Former Utah House Candidate Karina Andelin Brown spoke to the crowd about the importance of voting, supporting local leaders and informing them of issues that matter to the community.
USU student and member of the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma Devon Isaacs discussed the challenges faced by Native American women, many of whom go missing or have been murdered.
According to Isaacs, Utah ranks No. 8 out of the top 10 states with the highest reported cases of missing indigenous women.
“Native American women were once revered members of society,” Isaacs said. “They are life givers, they are medicine and they are sacred. All women are sacred.”
USU Assistant Professor of Sociology Marisela Martinez-Cola encouraged attendees to research some of the most influential women hidden in history and to have the courage to stand up for what is important.
“Be strong in whatever way represents strength to you,” Martinez-Cola said. “Organize a march, conduct a protest, write a letter, write a poem, create art, speak up, sing or, as Gloria Anzaldua — writer, feminist, Chicana, lesbian — encouraged us to do, ‘Dance in the face of our fears.’”
Nonbinary individual Kirsten Mara brought to light the difficulties facing the LGBTQ community and asked for the community to listen to the voices of trans women.
Storee Powell, marketing director for the Center for Persons with Disabilities at USU, spoke about obstacles women with disabilities face.
“People with disabilities don’t need pity or sympathy,” Powell said. “We need friends and allies.”
Lex Scott, founder of Black Lives Matter Utah, spoke of many different issues facing women, including sexual harassment on college campuses, and encouraged women to “break the mold.”
“We have to end cyclical abuse,” Scott said. “We have to destroy rape culture. We have to stand for one another. We have to make campuses safe, because soon, when my innocent, beautiful daughter decides that she wants to go to Utah State — she is young, she is beautiful, she is innocent — I should never have to worry that her innocence will be taken from her. We must make campuses safe across this nation. We must make this world safe for all women.”
Speakers touched on other issues, including domestic violence, racism and discrimination women may face in health care.
Jelus said the rally and march are intended not only to stand up for women’s rights but also to show support for each other.
“Mainly, it’s a show of solidarity, and it’s a gathering for strengths for all different types of women,” Jelus said.