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Lansing Women's March moved to MSU for 2019, main event to Detroit

January 14, 2019
Protesters gather outside of the capitol to listen to speeches during the Women's March on Lansing on Jan. 21, 2017 at the Capital Building in Lansing. Activists gathered and expressed their opinions through peaceful demonstration.
Protesters gather outside of the capitol to listen to speeches during the Women's March on Lansing on Jan. 21, 2017 at the Capital Building in Lansing. Activists gathered and expressed their opinions through peaceful demonstration. —

The day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, women flooded the streets of Washington D.C. in protest of his presidency. This year, Michigan’s main Women's March will take place in Detroit.

The annual event usually takes place at the state capital, but the largest march in the state was moved to Detroit to make the event more accessible. It will take place at 11 a.m. on Jan. 19 at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, 315 E. Warren Ave. in Detroit.

“This movement of feminism or this women’s wave and this women’s movement is not going to be successful unless everyone is at the table,” said Michigan Women's March founder and president Phoebe Hopps. “I know that I’m personally very privileged to be able to participate and have free time and flexibility in my schedule — at home and work — to attend a lot of events. We realize that for a lot of women, it might be much harder."

Detroit is the largest city in Michigan, and holding the event there will allow for more voices to be heard, especially those of already marginalized groups, organizers said. 

“The alarming number of murders and violence that is carried out among my population right now is just nerve shattering,” Jeynce Poindexter, a trans woman of color on the Michigan Women’s March board, said. “So the whole point for having it in Detroit is to uplift, to center and centralize the voices of the minorities, of the despaired, of what the statistics are based on. We need those people at the podiums and in the moments, in the spaces and at the table.”

The Lansing area will still hold a march in a new location. The Women’s March of Lansing takes place starting at 1 p.m. on Jan. 20, beginning at the MSU Union and ending at the Hannah Administration Building. The on-campus march is organized by the Michigan Women’s March and MSU’s Women’s Council.

After learning there will not be a march in Lansing, the Women's Council decided to open the event up to surrounding communities.

"We're really trying to get the Lansing community involved so it's a shared experience," journalism and comparative cultures and politics sophomore Debbie Miszak said. "It's primarily geared towards students because obviously we're a student group at MSU, but we're trying to make it something that, because MSU students are a part of Lansing community and Lansing is a part of MSU, we want it to be a mutually supportive environment."

By hosting the MSU march on Sunday, Miszak hopes it will give people the opportunity to attend the event in Detroit as well. It also allows students to attend the events planned for Martin Luther King Day on Jan. 19.

"We decided to host a Women's March here at MSU primarily because we thought it would be a good way to show solidarity with the survivors of sexual assault on this campus," Miszak said.

The rally will feature several speakers including U.S. Rep. Haley Stevens, D-Michigan, state Rep. Leslie Love, D-Detroit, survivor Morgan McCaul and others to be announced.

Recently, the Women’s March national organization has been under fire for anti-Semitic remarks. Regional groups, like the Michigan Women’s March, are separate organizations.

However, all groups do run in a “national network,” which allows individual regions and states to coordinate without being under the national organization's control.

“It’s a lot of backbiting, it’s a lot of backstabbing, a lot of minimizing, to where people are trying to skew the mission and dismantle it and speak bad about our movement and our purpose,” Poindexter said. “The truth is, it is in celebration and uplifting and working with all women of all backgrounds, of all colors, of all classes, of all social statuses.”

Poindexter called for Women's March participants to practice intersectionality as they rally for the rights of all women.

“This movement can be powerful,” Poindexter said, "but it can’t be powerful if we don’t bring the black woman; it can’t be powerful if we don’t include the Jew woman; it can’t be powerful if we don’t include the Muslim woman. It only is going to be accomplished with us all.”

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