Global Women’s March protest hits St. George streets

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Women from around the globe marched in solidarity Saturday to fight for women’s rights and civil liberties. St. George was no different. Video by Ashley Harrison and Skye Clayton.

Around 1,500 people marched past St. George city buildings through downtown on Saturday chanting “Love Trumps Hate.” 

St. George was one of many cities around the world to hold a women’s march, which was inspired by the original march in Washington D.C. According to the “Women’s March on Washington Guiding Vision and Definition of Principles,” the march on Washington D.C. is a “women-led movement bringing together people of all genders, ages, races, cultures  and political affiliations to affirm our shared humanity and pronounce our bold message of resistance and self-determination.”

“We wanted to be a part of that movement to have our voices in our community heard at this pivotal time,” March organizer Mari Shirley said.

Within a week, Mari Shirley and Eva Livingston set a date and time for the women’s march in St. George. 

“The two girls who started it a week ago were hoping for maybe 50 people to show up,” said Dorothy Engelman, director of the Erin Kimball Foundation, which serves homeless survivors of domestic violence and abuse.

However, brightly clothed women, men, children and dogs of all breeds participated in the St. George march. With volunteers making sure everyone remained on the sidewalk and following cross-walk procedures, a multitude of people driving by honked and waved.

Participants represented organizations such as Girl Scouts, Planned Parenthood and Downtown Yoga at the march. 

“I attended the women’s march because I wanted to stand in solidarity with women around the world and let our president know that we will fight every day for our rights,” said Dallas Henry, a Planned Parenthood Utah ambassador. “We will hold [President Donald Trump] accountable for his actions.”

Engelman said getting involved starts with protecting women’s rights, especially reproductive rights. 

Henry said without Planned Parenthood she wouldn’t have been able to afford an IUD on her own. After her procedure, Henry became a volunteer, clinical assistant and later a Planned Parenthood ambassador to give back to the foundation.

“Now I am helping educate and empower women in my community just like Planned Parenthood did for me,” Henry added. “I want the community to know Planned Parenthood is a safe and welcoming place for everyone and that our doors stay open no matter what.” 

Engelman was among many activists to stress the importance of not overturning Roe v. Wade

“Nobody is in favor of abortion, but I think women feel they deserve to be in control of their own bodies,” Engelman said. “I think there’s a real fear that may go away under the president’s administration.”

St. George resident Penny Cole said the march also represents the idea that everyone’s voices matter, and everyone shares the same rights.

As St. George residents  Jeff Quayle and Shirlayne Quayle stood together holding their daughter’s hand at the march, they voiced their concerns for every generation’s future.

“We’re a mixed race household, I mean my daughter’s Asian, so it especially hits home for us,” Jeff Quayle said. “I want to let our 9-year-old know that just because she’s a woman, that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a say.”

Jeff Quayle said in order to keep this movement going, it’s not enough to just complain about the issues; you need to get out and do peaceful marches like these.

“People are coming together to show peace and love, so maybe we need somebody like Trump in office to get people activated to move us in the right direction,” St. George resident Chris Zollinger said.