Harsh winds and cold air didn’t put a damper on spirits at the 2020 mid-Missouri Solidarity Rally and March on Saturday.
The crowd occupied the Courthouse Plaza downtown during speeches given before the march — held in conjunction with the National Women’s March in Washington D.C. and other cities nationwide.
Kate Canterbury from CoMo for Progress, an emcee during the event, encouraged the crowd before the march started.
“I am cold, you are cold, but we will not let that stop us,” Canterbury said.
Evonnia Woods from Reproaction, an organization that supports abortion rights, felt the cold during her speech, which discussed the importance of participation within the community to influence reform.
After a gust of wind, Woods turned around on stage, gave a yell and called out to the crowd.
“Are y’all pumped?” she shouted, followed by an uproar from those gathered outside the courthouse.
Woods reminded the crowd of the ways they can influence change, such as learning about candidates before voting as well as attending Columbia City Council meetings. Everyone has a role to play, someone doesn’t have to take a leadership role to make change, she said.
“You can resist from the sidewalks,” Woods said.
Bini Sebastian, from the organization Enough is Enough, gave a speech discussing gun violence. Some factors that go into the issue are mental health, domestic violence and access to resources, she said.
Everyone plays a vital role in undoing oppressive systems, Sebastian said. She pressed the importance of acknowledging privileges and ceasing to ignore those who are marginalized.
Laura Wacker, a sustainability coordinator for Peaceworks, also spoke. She addressed laws and issues that limit individual rights in the nation. She readdressed the importance of speaking out when someone notices issues like these.
“Complacency is our enemy,” Wacker said.
The Rev. Molly Housh Gordon, minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia, conveyed messages of uniting together and nurturing values of love and equality.
Those attending the march and the speeches beforehand brought signs that emphasized their political values. Some signs that could be found read “RESIST,” “love trumps hate,” “I stand with Planned Parenthood” and encouragements to support unions, public education and more.
Pamphlets were handed out at the event that listed the speakers who were there and encouraged social and political actions such as registering to vote, talking to government representatives and getting involved in social media groups to find out how to help influence reform.
The names and phone numbers of local and state government representatives were listed on the back of the pamphlets.
The Boone County Government Center was available as a warming station during the event to combat the overwhelming cold.
More information about the event’s organizers can be found on its Facebook page.
Supervising editor is Kaleigh Feldkamp.