On a dreary, gray January morning, thousands of people filtered onto the steps of the Iowa State Capitol. An estimated 26,000 people joined together for the Women’s March in Des Moines, a sister march to the Women’s March on Washington, on January 21, 2017, one day after President Trump’s inauguration. Original estimates for the March were 10,000, but interest surged in the last week according to Women’s March, Iowa Chapter’s Facebook page. Women and their allies marched and rallied to remind elected representatives that women’s rights are human rights.
The crowd was dotted with bright pink hats which was part of the Pussyhat Project. According to their website, it was a means to make a unique visual statement for the rallies. Along with their hats, many marchers brought signs including one that read “Will Trade: 1) Steve King 2) Joni Ernst 3) Chuck Grassley For Any Immigrant.”
The speakers reflected the many different faces in the crowd — including Native Americans, Latinos, Disabled people, Gay and Lesbian, Older Americans, Students and Youth,and more.
Representative Marti Anderson, Iowa HD-36, spoke and reminded the participants of being active in letting their representatives know what is important. She said, “government is how we do things together that we can’t do alone.” She encouraged all attendees to come “to the people’s house” and share their concerns with their representatives.
Another speaker mentioned she was “prepared to witness history and retire from activism” on November 8, 2016. Instead, she said we witnessed a different kind of history and the fight to move forward for women’s and human rights continues.
Movement 515, a group of Des Moines area high school students, delivered moving spoken word, reminding us that women are like rain and that being “wet and wild” is acceptable and encouraged.
Donna Red Wing told the crowd, at the urging of her wife, “your heart knows the way, so walk in that direction.”
Scott Galindez attended Syracuse University, where he first became politically active. The writings of El Salvador's slain archbishop Oscar Romero and the on-campus South Africa divestment movement converted him from a Reagan supporter to an activist for Peace and Justice. Over the years he has been influenced by the likes of Philip Berrigan, William Thomas, Mitch Snyder, Don White, Lisa Fithian, and Paul Wellstone. Scott met Marc Ash while organizing counterinaugural events after George W. Bush's first stolen election. Scott Moved to Des Moines in 2015 to cover the Iowa Caucus.