2,000 Fairbanksans join Women’s March

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Estimates from event organizers and local news sources place the number of march attendees at almost 2,000. Reasons for participation varied from closing the wage gap to supporting climate change data. – Ellamarie Quimby/ Sun Star Photo credit: Ellamarie Quimby

Around 2,000 Fairbanks community members braved sub zero temperatures Saturday morning to march along with millions across globe in the Farthest North Women’s March.

“I’m marching for solidarity,” Stacie Braband, a local mother of three, said. “To support the community, to support women in the community and the world and because I really want things to be better for women and for everyone.”

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Around 10 a.m., demonstrators left the Raven Landing community center to march down Cowles Street towards Ryan Middle School. Although the event was billed as non-partisan, many of the homemade signs referenced the current president and his incoming administration. –Ellamarie Quimby/ Sun Star Photo credit: Ellamarie Quimby

Demonstrators held homemade signs and waved at honking cars while walking a loop at the intersection of Airport road and Cowles street. In Raven’s Landing Community Center nearby, demonstration organizers screened live footage of the central march in Washington D.C. The community center provided hot drinks and a place for demonstrators to warm up and listen to guest speakers.

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Organizers of the march sported green armbands during the event, for easier visibility. Jeannine Haney, a co-organizer, said that she and her friends spent over two months preparing for the event. “We were just a bunch of girlfriends having coffee, and we decided we had to do something. We heard about the national march and said ‘let's do something in solidarity with them,'” Haney said. – Ellamarie Quimby/ Sun Star Photo credit: Ellamarie Quimby

The Farthest North Women’s March attracted more participants than expected, according to event organizers. At one point organizers had to ask those who were already warm to wait outside as the community center was over capacity, creating a potential risk of the city fire marshall shutting down the event.

While the demonstration was referred to as the Women’s March, many protesters had their own reasons for attending.

“I had a hard time with the election and I just want to feel like we’re making steps toward action and making a change,” Kristen Olive, a Randy Smith Middle School teacher, said. “I’m marching to stand up for what I believe in in a more actualized way. And I’m worried about healthcare and climate change and I wanted to feel the power of a lot of people that share similar views as me.”

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Around 10 a.m., demonstrators left the Raven Landing community center to march down Cowles Street towards Ryan Middle School. Although the event was billed as non-partisan, many of the homemade signs referenced the current president and his incoming administration. –Ellamarie Quimby/ Sun Star Photo credit: Ellamarie Quimby

Jen Gunderson, a graphic designer, saw this march as a call to action.

“I feel really empowered to be around all these ladies and see these women come together in a really strong force,” Gunderson said. “I feel like there’s a lot of shit that needs to get done and we need to come together and to it.”

A group of UAF graduate students joined the march to demonstrate against climate change and show their support for the sciences.

“It’s sad that science is being so underrepresented right now in Trump’s administration and I think that should change,” Stephanie Berkman, a graduate student in the Fisheries department, said.

Chelsea Clawson felt deep connections between the march and her area of study.

“I’m worried about the direction our administration is going in relation to science, especially climate change science,” Clawson said, “I study salmon in the arctic and climate change is a huge deal as are the rights of Native folks and subsistence so I just wanted to make it knows that science is real and still matters and we need to recognize that.”

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Couple Heather Moncrief, 36, and Graham Wichman, 36, marched together. Both sported the pink “pussyhats” symbolic of the worldwide marches. When asked why she chose to march, Moncreif replied “All the reasons. Every one.” – Ellamarie Quimby/ Sun Star Photo credit: Ellamarie Quimby

For some, this march marked a beginning in political involvement.

“I’m marching because I’m concerned about how things seem to be going at the moment and I’d like to see them changed,” Tessa Hasbrouk, a graduate student in the Wildlife department, said. “I’m recently involved in getting to know what’s going on in politics. I’d always kind of shunned it so this past year has been the start of me understanding and I’m a little bit scared for what’s going to happen.”

, but it never passed,” Sprout said. Section 1 of the ERA states: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” – Ellamarie Quimby/ Sun Star Photo credit: Ellamarie Quimby” align=”aligncenter” id=”attachment_45904″ width=”1024″]Ellamarie Quimby - quimby_womensmarch 1.jpg

This march, among several others across the state, was held Jan. 21 from 10 a.m – 1 p.m, in conjunction with other protestors across the world. According to information published by the New York Times, demonstrations occurred on nearly every continent, with the exception of Greenland.

The march in Washington D.C, made up of an estimated 500,000 demonstrators, is one the largest demonstration in U.S history, according to the New York Times. Estimates place worldwide participation at over 4 million demonstrators.

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