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Silence = Complicity: Milwaukee women demand transformative change at rally

After overlooking Wisconsin last year in its Women’s Day protest march, the organization’s 2018 National Day of Action Anniversary event was held in Milwaukee on January 20.

Women of all backgrounds came together around the world on the day after Donald Trump was inaugurated as President of the United States last year, in protest of his positions that were regarded as anti-women and offensive. Brittany Nordstrum and Nellie Vance organized the Femme Solidarity March in the Riverwest neighborhood, which coincided with the Women’s March on Washington DC.

This year the newly formed Wisconsin chapter of the Women’s March movement included Milwaukee, Green Bay, and Eau Claire in its national schedule. Thousands of women and allies gathered in MacArthur Square next to the Milwaukee County Courthouse for the second annual rally and march.

“The mission of the Women’s March is to harness the political power of diverse groups of women to create transformative social change,” said Sarah Pearson, who helped organized the Milwaukee March. “Today’s ‘Day of Action’ is still the beginning. The next stage of the movement will channel the energy and activism of the Women’s March into tangible strategies and concrete wins.”

The event celebrated work done by women of color over the past year to make Milwaukee a better place for disadvantaged people. It also highlighted grassroots organizations led by women of color, political candidates like Erica Flynn who is running for State Representative in the 84th Assembly District of Wisconsin, and elected officials like State Senator Lena Taylor.

“Milwaukee needs to have a voice in this movement,” said Senator Taylor. “But we need to go to Kenosha, Racine, and Wausau, and we need to go all over this state making sure that women rise up and take back their rights.”

The Women’s March was developed to advocate legislation and policies regarding human rights and other issues, including women’s rights, immigration reform, healthcare reform, reproductive rights, the natural environment, LGBTQ rights, racial equality, freedom of religion, and workers’ rights. The movement was funded by the what organizers called people power, because the majority of the donations to make the event possible were under $50.

“No one is safe unless everyone is safe,” added Pearson, “If you don’t stand for my sisters, then you do not stand for me. And you’re fired.”

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