1 year later, Women's March returns retooled with new image
One year after the first-ever Women's March, it returned to the Michigan Capitol, as thousands congregated Sunday to advocate for women's rights.
Last year, the rally was organized for the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, and largely focused on supporting women’s issues after his election.
This year’s version focused on the intersectionality of women’s issues and the importance of women voting in upcoming elections.
Heather Hays of Ann Arbor attended the women’s march in Washington D.C. in 2016.
She didn’t expect the large crowd the D.C. march drew after Trump’s inauguration, she said. And while there weren't as many participants in Lansing, from her perspective, the energy was very much the same.
“Everyone at these gatherings is so polite and kind to each other,” Hays said. “You can’t go to the mall and run into this many people who are good to each other, respectful.”
The 2016 nationwide women’s rallies were a reaction to the presidential election, but the purpose for this year’s was different, Hays explained.
“I feel like now, there’s a sense of we’re making this our own, we’re making 2018 our own, and we’re going to take this back,” Hays said.
“I think last year it was really just an incredible display of hope,” University of Michigan student Jacqueline Hentschel said. “I feel like this is almost a result of that … now, all of these women are energized, and are moving, and are making things happen.”
Hentschel and her mother, Juliet Hentschel of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, did not attend the 2016 march in Lansing and regretted their absences.
The issue Juliet Hentschel wanted to focus on this year was gun violence and the importance of women in office, she said.
“One of the things we’ve found is women have to make a critical mass to create a change in culture,” Juliet Hentschel said. “When there is one woman, she can’t stand up. … So, people can say, ‘Oh, what does the march do?’ It mobilizes people, it encourages people.”
The actions of the Trump administration throughout the past year have helped mobilize different women to come together, Cassandra Espinosa of Grand Rapids, Michigan, said.
Espinosa cited Trump’s recent comments on developing countries and his lack of support for women’s rights as a reason the women’s march continued into 2018.
“I think more people are coming out, more people are supporting," Espinosa said. "People that maybe support women’s rights but maybe not Black Lives Matter are unifying now."
Espinosa hopes to see marches in the future because they give attention to women running for office, she said.
“It needs to keep happening because men like Trump can’t be in office,” Espinosa said. "Trump is the big guy who is in office, and we say all these terrible things about him, but he’s not unlike the other legislators and senators that are in office. We need to stand here so women can be in office, so that we take it to the polls, so we don’t just go home."