Mid-Missouri Solidarity March emphasizes equality

Columbia Resident Barbie Skinner: “This is anger that is not going to go away without change.”

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“Nevertheless She Persisted.” “Women’s Rights are Human Rights.” “Love Not Hate Makes America Great.” On Jan. 20, hundreds of men, women and children participated in the Mid-Missouri Solidarity March, a walk in support of female equality, minority rights and environmental action, among others. Armed with pussy hats and rainbow posters, participants were excited to take to Columbia’s streets after a year of disappointments from the Trump presidency.

Proud to be part of the march’s diverse group of participants, Rolla resident Kya Nilges walked the Solidarity March with her mother, Hope Nilges. Of all of the issues being addressed, Kya was most concerned over the wage gap and other women’s issues like rape culture and defunding Planned Parenthood.

“We’re here to support the community and to support women’s rights and kind of voice that and make people more aware of what’s going on and the situations that women face,” Kya said.

Adding to her daughter’s sentiments, Hope recognized the Solidarity March as an opportunity for progressives to feel united and understood in a majority conservative state.

“To feel that sense of community and connectedness to other progressives because sometimes in Missouri, you can feel isolated when you’re a progressive,” Hope said. “And so it’s nice to come together with other people from your own state who share those ideals.”

Speaking at the Solidarity March, Michela Skelton, 50th District state representative candidate, also saw the importance of individuals banding together to confront these problems. Describing the determination of the crowd, Skelton said she believes the fight has only just begun.

“Together we found a fire within us that would not be extinguished,” Skelton said in her speech at the event.

Disheartened by Washington’s policy choices, Mark Haim, director of Mid-Missouri Peaceworks, hoped the Solidarity March addressed the Trump administration’s “unacceptable” actions. He believes the government does not support a “compassionate social order” and is causing more harm than good.

“We’ve had basically an administration that has pushed to enrich the wealthy and impoverish the rest of us,” Haim said. “This administration pushes to deregulate in ways that potentially negatively impact our health and our well-being, our environment, our workplace conditions, and it’s absolutely ridiculous. It needs to be stopped.”

In spite of these obstacles, Haim is encouraged by the numerous people and organizations who contributed to Columbia’s second annual Solidarity March. To see a full list of all Mid-Missouri Solidarity March sponsors, visit the event’s [Facebook page].(https://www.facebook.com/events/195920854310612/ )

“It’s the most different [sponsorship] groups I’ve ever seen working together on an event like this, so I’m really pleased on that,” Haim said.

While the second march grappled with a year’s worth of struggles rather than the effects of an unwanted election outcome, according to Haim, the goals of this year’s march was similar to the year prior.

“We are for a society that is peaceful, just, compassionate,” Haim said. “A society that is inclusive and a society that is sustainable. We are for fair taxes.”

Edited by Brooke Collier | bcollier@themaneater.com

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