Milwaukee- Nearly 400 women, men, children and even dogs took to the rain-soaked streets of Riverwest during the “Femme Solidarity March” on Saturday. The event drew inspiration from “The Women’s March on Washington,” which held concurrent marches across the globe.
Stressing solidarity and equality, march organizers Brittany Nordstrum and Nellie Vance preached a non-violent approach before the demonstration began around 10:45 am at the Riverwest Public House on East Locust street.
Vance, a 28-year-old web developer and artist, was motivated by other women’s marches and wanted Milwaukee to be a part of the movement.
“We are not OK with what Trump is doing and saying and we’re going to do everything we can to make sure everyone is taken care of,” said Vance.
Colorful signs with bold letters echoed the demonstrator’s feelings toward President Donald Trump’s controversial comments towards women and minorities.
Jessica Turtenwald and Heather Gandre proudly wore their “Nasty Women” sashes with hand written signs reading “My mind, my body, my choice,” and “You thought we were nasty before”?
Led by a giant red, white and blue “We the people” sign and police escort, the march moved down Holton Street toward North Avenue. Roaring chants of “This is what democracy looks like,” and “Build bridges, not walls” rang throughout the streets as pink-horned “Pussyhats” bobbed up and down in the crowd.
“The sea of pink made such a wonderful visual statement,” said Kathy Fortier of Milwaukee. “Fifty-years ago I first took to the streets against Vietnam and for Women’s rights. Freedoms are fought for, they are never given outright, we all want our children and grandchildren to have a better life and we want to leave a better world for them. I felt compelled to be there again with men and women who want to fight for what is right.”
Fortier, originally from New York, knitted three “Pussyhats” before the march. “I gave one to my daughter-in-law who went to the march in Washington, made one for myself, and gave the other to a young girl at the march to help pass the torch to a younger generation.
Moving down North Avenue towards Humboldt Boulevard, homeowner’s yelled support from open windows, with a few onlookers even joining in on the massive demonstration.
The marchers headed north down Humboldt Boulevard as a loud chant of “Hey hey, ho ho, Donald Trump has got to go, hey hey, ho ho, Sheriff Clarke has got to go,” referring to both President Trump and Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke.
The event culminated around noon at Company Brewing on East Center Street with Nordstrum and Vance expressing their thank you towards the marchers and optimism towards the future.