Reflecting on 2017
On January 21, over 5 Million of us marched worldwide including 100,000 right here in St. Paul, Minnesota.
But it didn’t end there.
We came together, committed to dismantling systems of oppression, and spent the entire year harnessing the power of women and their communities to create transformative change.
Almost immediately after the Women’s March we rallied, protested and marched against the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipeline, and then again against the Muslim Ban. At the end of January we came together again to send post cards to our members of congress. In one day, you wrote 1,207 post cards at the Hear Our Voice event at T-Rex Cookie. Over the course of 2017 thousands upon thousands of letters, faxes, post cards and calls were made ensuring our elected officials knew exactly where we stood on every issue.
In February, we gathered together in our neighborhoods all across Minnesota, forming huddles. These huddles helped us define our next steps, and envision how we wanted to transform the energy we saw at Women’s March into local and national action. If you participated in a huddle, or missed the opportunity but want to join one in 2018, we want to hear about it. We held or participated in town halls for every one of our members of congress while they were home during President’s Day recess. We showed up at rallies throughout the month to support Planned Parenthood and immigrants. Through the Women’s March Minnesota spotlight videos, we learned about the amazing and unstoppable work at the ACLU, CAIR and Immigrant Law Center. We rounded out the month thanking Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson for suing the Trump administration over the President’s executive order banning refugees.
In March, we saw our efforts pay off in a big way — the Republicans fell short on their attempt to overturn the Affordable Care Act. We rallied together on International Women’s Day with the ERA at our Capitol and later in the month watched as Nevada became the 36th state to pass the Equal Rights Amendment. We hope you join us in 2018 as we work to make Minnesota the 37th state to pass this important legislation! We watched spotlight videos, learning about the importance of the ERA, the relentless work of Reviving Sisterhood, Planned Parenthood and Take Action. We supported and participated in the CAIR conference, rallied together for pro-choice rights at the Capitol and filled the room at an Anoka-Hennepin School Board Meeting to stand up for LGBTQIA rights.
We started April by watching Rep. Melissa Hortman stand up for fellow female House leaders when a group of male Representatives chose to play cards instead of doing their job. She then refused to apologize when asked to do so. #SorryNotSorry! We showed up at the Tax March, the March for Science, the People’s Climate March, LGBTQIA lobby day at the Capitol and A Night for Syrian Refugees. We continued learning about important work of groups and organizations in Minnesota, including MN NOC and the March for Science.
In May, we participated in a variety of May Day events, rallied outside Rep. Jason Lewis, Rep. Eric Paulsen and Rep. Tom Emmer’s office in an event called “Women Are Watching” after they voted to strip away healthcare from hundreds of thousands in Minnesota. We showed up for dinner and conversations with our friends from CISPOS and the Committee in Solidarity with the People of Syria to support Syrian families and recently arrived Syrian refugees. And we stood together against police brutality rallying for Khaleel.
June started with Trump withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, but we did not let that damper our spirits or drive. We marched for truth on June 3, participated in Women’s March Minnesota’s first Messy Conversation session, and showed up for LGBTQIA students at Maple Grove High School to draw “kindness in chalk” on their last day of classes. More than 2,000 people rallied together in a same-day action calling for police reform after hearing that Officer Yanez was found not guilty for killing Philando Castile. We celebrated with our neighbors by participating in a Unity Iftar. We came together at the Ashley Rukes Pride Parade and closed out the month by winning the fight for $15 minimum wage in Minneapolis.
In July, we resisted the Muslim Ban 2.0, helped to raise funds for our friends at NAACP-Minneapolis, and saw hundreds with the Women's March march from the NRA to the DOJ demanding a change. The same day as we watched Nekima Levy Pounds speak at the DOJ rally, Justine Damond called 911 after hearing what she thought was a sexual assault in the alley. A police officer shot and killed her. We rallied together the next day and that week, demanding answers. Answers we still do not have. We ended the month marching for justice for victims of police violence.
We started August by participating in Women’s March Minnesota’s second Messy Conversation on racial bias. We watched in horror as a Unite the Right Rally member drove their vehicle into a crowd of marchers in Charlottesville, killing 32-year old Heather Heyer. That evening and in the days following we came together in solidarity for Charlottesville and to defend against hate and violence.
In September, we joined Blue LIES Matter, Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar, Anti-War Committee, Black Lives Matter Minnesota, The New North, Black Saint Paul and others in the fight against white supremacy, police brutality and all other injustices at the #InjusticeOnAStick rally. We came together as the White House announced it had plans to end DACA, and once again thanked Attorney General Lori Swanson for joining the lawsuit brought by 15 states and D.C. to prevent the government’s effort to end DACA. We boycotted the NFL to show support for Colin Kaepernick and other athletes exerting their first amendment rights.
We spent October filling a plane to support our neighbors in Puerto Rico and contacting our members of congress, demanding answers and change after the massacre in Las Vegas left 58 people dead and 489 injured. We rallied together against the Muslim Ban 3.0 and came together for the People’s Rally for Justice. We joined our sisters across the country in sharing our stories of #MeToo and watched as a wave of men were called out for their heinous acts. We joined others from across the nation in a 3-day Women’s Convention put together by the Women’s March.
November we made our voice heard at the polls and saw victories in cities and states across the country. We celebrated as Andrea Jenkins became the first openly trans woman of color elected to the city council of a major U.S. city, Minneapolis! We heard from brave Minnesota legislators as they shared their stories of sexual harassment by Rep. Tony Cornish and Senator Dan Schoen. We called, rallied and petitioned for their resignation and succeeded! We hope to count on you to support those running in the January special election for their seats!
In December, we continued to fight against police brutality and demand reform, we participated in the justice for Cordale indoor rally and vigil. We watched as Times named the Silence Breakers the person of the year. And joined multiple states in a lawsuit against the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to roll back regulations, once again thanking Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson for stepping up when our members of Congress wouldn’t!
We honor those who have been in this fight, doing this work for the many years, decades, and centuries before us. Thank you to the activists and organizations who marched with us, collaborated with us and mentored us as we grew and solidified as an organization. And thank you to the volunteers who continue to show up, trust us and help grow Women’s March Minnesota.
It’s been a long year filled with heart-break and triumphs. How have you shown up, grown, or challenged yourself this year? We want to hear about it! Share it with us here or tag us in a post with #MarchToAMovement.
We are looking forward to 2018 and the ways that we will continue to learn, grow and use our voices to create a community based on equality and equity in Minnesota and beyond.