Woman’s March in Big Rapids

Rally at Mitchel Creek Park

On Friday 28th, the weekend before Halloween, the sun was setting over a gathering of politicians, Ferris students and local organizers who filled the area with live music and speeches.

The FML was tabled next to Jerry Hilliard a candidate for Michigan’s second congressional district. Planned Parent Hood was represented as well. They had a speaker and table on the other side of the park next to the candidate Bernstein.

The Lead Rally Organizer, Julie alexander, was affiliated with every table at the rally. She explains how the march is a group effort. The people here represent their own organization with no official association with the other attendees, but the marchers do share a common goal.

Julie Alexander hopes that the march shows the there are people in Big Rapids and around the region fighting for the rights of woman. As well as a demonstration that anyone who shares worries about the erosion of women’s rights is not alone in Big Rapids. Julie clarifies that their cause is a human issue. Not simply a woman’s issue. It is an issue of the individual and their access to health care and the sovereignty of personal choice.

The roll back of Roe v Wade and thus the prohibition on abortion is the loss of rights the rally is referring to. A decision Michigan will be voting on November 8th with the vote on Proposal Three. A proposed amendment to the Michigan Constitution that would protect people’s reproductive rights.

Those at the rally were unanimous in the belief that voting in the upcoming election is the most important step in securing the safety of women.

Michigan’s Democratic 2nd district congressional Canidate Jerry Hilliard emphasized this point. The people, especially the younger generation need to vote. “The blue wave needs to run over everybody”, Hilliard said.

An older couple from the community, Barry and Beth Gilmer, build on this point and address a politically agnostic Ferris. “It’s your future. We are gonna be gone” Beth Gilmer said. Barry Gilmer, a lifelong democrat adds by saying the election November 8th is “The most important midterm of his lifetime”.

Educating the Big Rapids Community was another important goal of the Womens March. One of the organizations was the Anti-violence Alliance. This Ferris Organization focuses on education surrounding domestic violence. The AVA hoped to bring light to issues women struggle with regarding sexism and violence.

Hannah Francis, a Criminal Justice Major and representative of the Anti-Violence Alliance organization at Ferris, spoke of the sexism she herself has faced. You are made to believe “you shouldn’t do things because [you’re] a woman.” she explained.” Hannah has been demeaned and urged to “change [her] major into something more woman based”. Which was just one example Hannah gave of the ways sexism bleeds into the life of women; even in our own community at Ferris.

“Women view things as normal that they should not.” Hannah added. “People believe that woman should be quiet and submissive and that is simply not true.”

Many of the organizers pointed to the Museum of Sexist Objects as a good way to learn about these accepted misconceptions. Julie Alexander claims “[The Museum] shows how our culture promotes sexism. Whether it’s through jokes, or memes, or social concepts”.