One year after the first Women’s March on Washington and the inauguration of President Donald Trump, the Mid-Missouri Solidarity Network has organized a Solidarity March and Rally for 1 p.m. Saturday. The march will begin at the Boone County Courthouse, 705 E. Walnut St., and will cover 10 blocks.
Mid-Missouri Peaceworks Director Mark Haim hopes for another large turnout.
“Last year when we gathered, there were over 3,600 of us, which indicates very broad participation,” Haim said. “I haven’t seen as many people turn out for a demonstration. I’ve lived here 46 years, and it’s the largest demonstration I’ve seen in this community.”
There will be six speakers at the event who will address environmental and racial issues, economic justice and peace advocacy. The speakers will be:
- Valérie Berta-Torales, a social documentary photographer.
- Robin Blake, a retired family physician.
- Nikki McGruder, regional manager of the Diversity Awareness Partnership.
- Angela Speck, a professor of astrophysics and director of astronomy at MU.
- Brian Terrell, co-coordinator of Voices of Creative Nonviolence.
- Michela Skelton, a political activist and former candidate for state representative who works with Our Revolution: Mid-Missouri.
A news release about the march said 48 organizations are involved.
“We’re not putting one issue up as the top issue,” Haim said. “We’re very conscious of the fact that we don’t want to get into this competitive bidding: ‘My issue is more important than your issue’ kind of a thing.”
The march will be held “in conjunction with a national call to oppose the Trump agenda,” according to the event’s Facebook page.
“We need to make America greater than it is now by moving forward, not backwards,” Haim said. “We’re aiming to create a positive transformation of our society into one that really looks out for everyone, a society in which every person’s rights are respected.”
“Peacekeepers” will also attend to ensure marchers’ safety in the event of any conflicts with counter-protesters. While Haim said that the organization respects anyone’s right to free speech, he encourages participants to avoid involvement with any counter-protesters who might show up.
“It’s really up to all of us to basically put our issues forward and not get caught up in any kind of confrontation or negativity,” said Haim, who also encouraged participants to bring signs and banners expressing specific issues they’d like to address.
The march will happen regardless of weather.