Just a day shy of the one-year anniversary of the first Women’s March, proud feminists world-wide once again took to the streets, marching, protesting and supporting in what were labeled “Sister Marches.” According to womensmarch.com, Sister Marches took place in 673 different locations, where just less than five million feminists joined in unity to denounce oppression, racism, sexism and many other forms of bigotry. The Women’s Marches overall represented a changing political landscape in America and can only be a good thing moving forward.
In the United States alone, there were hundreds of thousands of marchers, especially in the larger, more liberal cities. However, not only did the typical blue states have good turnouts, but even generally conservative Montana had noteworthy participation in the events.
Residents of Bozeman, Missoula, Billings and many more towns across the state partook in the Sister Marches. While Montana did not have as many gatherers as some of the other states, in a place where words like “liberal” and “feminism” too often have negative connotations, this is a sign of hope.
The Women’s March is more than feminists gathering together for a few hours and carrying creative, impactful signs. After years of racism, sexism and other intolerant behaviors being touted by officials of higher power, these marches were the first step in changing the political script everywhere, including in Montana.
The Sister Marches that took place across our state stood for equality, intersectional feminism, environmental justice and “dismantling systems of oppression through nonviolent resistance,” as a Facebook page for the Missoula March explained. These marches and the feminists that participated in them, are what the best of America looks like.
The Sister Marches emphasized the “Power to the Polls,” an event in Las Vegas that focused on electing more women to office as well as targeting swing states to register new voters that can impact future politics. As Linda Sarsour, co-chair of the Women’s March explained when discussing the Las Vegas event, “This campaign will mobilize a new group of activists to create accessible power to our voting polls.”
It is the hope of many that through these efforts, a political change will occur. Midterm elections take place in the coming months. By encouraging people to register and vote, these Sister Marches aim to upset the current political state and retake power in the offices.
Although Montana may remain majority red, these Sister Marches demonstrate that even conservative states can adapt. Signs held during the events included denouncing President Trump’s behavior and supporting reproductive rights — both of which are contentious topics in the Treasure State.
Montana, just as any place, can change for the better. Feminists across the state proved that when they marched in solidarity, united by the belief that “Women’s Rights are Human Rights and Human Rights are Women’s Rights,” as the Missoula March Facebook page wrote.
The feminist activists from around the world that gathered together on Jan. 20, 2018 did so because they know this year can be a year of change in the right direction. It can be the year that the political script is flipped so that all people are treated as equals. This can be the year where sexism, racism, heterosexism and additional problems are abolished, rather than flaunted, particularly by those in power and a year where, especially in places like Montana, “feminism” is no longer labeled a dirty word.