Hundreds of men and women marched to the Capitol on Saturday in remembrance of missing and murdered women.
The fourth annual Salt Lake City Womxn’s March drew a crowd of Native and indigenous people, religious groups, ethnic minorities, immigrants and LGBTQIA people.
“It’s important because women’s liberation is something that we’ve been fighting for for so long, and it’s not something that’s come to fruition yet. As we can see misogyny is still deeply rooted in this nation.” said Ermiya Fanaeian, 19, a speaker at the event.
Supporters carried signs that called for pay equity, women’s healthcare, family planning, affordable childcare and equal representation. On the steps of the Capitol, six speakers discussed issues facing indigenous women, incarcerated women, African American women and LGBTQ women.
Fanaeian said it’s important to recognize that “every issue is a women’s issue.”
A University of Utah student group started the event in 2016. Although it was inspired by the international women’s march, the event is unaffiliated with the national organization.
Fanaeian said it’s important for young people to become involved in social movements.
“Young people are the future leaders, young people are folks who need to start now, who need to start recognizing these socio-political issues, so that in the future they’re folks who can lead the way when it comes to laws.”
She said there are many issues that need to be addressed regarding health care and political involvement for women. “We need to talk about no longer privatizing and profiting off women’s health care, and no longer stripping the funding of women’s health care.”
She said it is important to stand up for all women’s rights.
“When we start fighting for liberation for all women, then those of us in the margins can be liberated the most — those of us who are of color, those of us who are queer, those of us who are lower class, who are working-class — all these different intersections.”
Michelle Brown, campaign chairperson for MMIW Utah, spoke about the violence against indigenous women. She said these types of events show the families of murdered and missing women that they have a community that cares about them.
“I want to send the message of hope and resilience, just being out here today with all of these amazing diverse women, it is a testament that people are not giving up, people are tired of the current situation and we’re looking for progress.”
She called for a shift in attitudes towards indigenous women.
“Get to know the women in your community, listen to them, amplify their voices.”
Lex Scott, of Black Lives Matter Utah, said it’s important to fight for every group that’s discriminated against.
“If you are not fighting for all marginalized people then your civil rights and your feminism are trash.”
She said it’s important for people to use their privilege and voices to speak out for marginalized groups. “People are being put in cages, missing and indigenous women and children are being ignored and when we end all injustice it will be a better world for everyone.”
Some supporters came from far away just to go to the march. Kathy Sullivan drove from Jackson Hole, Wyo., because she wanted to march with a larger crowd supporting women’s equality.
She said she wants to see more women in government, more women having equal pay, and she doesn’t want the Affordable Care Act to go away. Sullivan had a message for why women’s marches are important.
“We’re all one, we’re all people, like all these signs say, ‘women’s rights are human rights.'”