In January 2017, one day after Donald Trump took office, millions of women in cities throughout the United States took to streets and parks in protest of the inauguration of the president, and on Saturday, Jan. 19, people in Southeast Kansas gathered together for the 2019 Women’s March. The protest’s message includes criticism of the Trump administration’s policies regarding women and minorities, his plan to build a wall on the Southern border, the government shutdown, the confirmation of conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
The Southeast Kansas chapter of the National Organization for Women (SEK NOW) organized the event. Participants began the march at the Farmer’s Market Pavilion, on Broadway and 11th Street at 1 p.m. They then marched to Pritchett Pavilion, located on the corner of Broadway and 2nd Street, where the rally was held.
“I believe this year’s Women’s March (was)… a celebration of women’s accomplishments over the last several years,” said Megan Stoneberger Johnson, board member of “Women Helping Women.” “We have organized and spoken out about issues that matter. Women truly are able to transform our communities, our state, and our nation.”
Some local elected officials were in attendance such as Pittsburg city commissioner Sarah Chenoweth.
“We did really great in the last election, but there’s more to come,” Chenoweth said. “We’ve got to keep fighting. We’ve got to keep coming out no matter how cold or hot it is. We have a lot of work to do; I think that should be the main message.”
Speakers at the rally included many prominent women including SEK NOW members, and student activists from Pittsburg High School. Commissioner Chenoweth said “no matter the issue, we are better when we work together.”
“I felt that whether they’re talking about domestic violence or politics or charity… We can’t do it unless we do it together,” Chenoweth said. “We are better together.”
Taylor Boucher, sophomore in history education, said she thought it was a good idea to get out to support the community.
“I’m a pretty big activist in this area, and thought it was important… to brave the cold and come out,” Boucher said. “I think this is absolutely amazing. The speakers have been wonderful.”
Andres Munguia, freshman in music, came to show support for the cause and his girlfriend, Ximena Ibarra, Pittsburg High School student and activist, who was a guest speaker.
“I wanted to come support her,” Munguia said. “… I’m in support of all these things that are going on out here, I just think that there should be more things like this going on in Pittsburg.”