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Marchers reunite on Denton Square for second annual Women’s March

Marchers reunite on Denton Square for second annual Women’s March

Hundreds gather in front of Denton's Courthouse on the Square to participate in the Women's March.

Marchers reunite on Denton Square for second annual Women’s March
January 20
16:26 2018

Nearly 800 people congregated Saturday morning at the Denton County courthouse on the Square to march for feminist issues including reproductive rights, human rights, immigration reform, LGBTQ+ rights and more on the anniversary of the first globally observed Women’s March in 2017.

“The future is here,” said Lesly Gutierrez, the main speaker at the event. “The future is now. The future is feminist.”

This weekend marks the one-year anniversary of President Trump’s inauguration and the Women’s March on Washington that came the next day.

“Plainly spoken, we’re still not equal,” said Haley Feuerbacher, campus minister at the Wesley Foundation of Denton and a member of the local march’s planning committee. “Our biggest message is the most powerful thing citizens can do is vote. People of all genders, faiths, ethnicities and abilities can be political leaders.”

To recognize the anniversary, the progress made since then and the unsolved issues, area activists held a public march and rally for women’s and feminist issues.

“When the election of 2016 happened, it was a huge slap in the face to women,” Sandy Swan, a member of the march planning committee, said. “This draws attention to the fact that you can have a voice, you can get involved, your actions can make a difference.”

The theme for this year’s march was “Power to the Polls,” with voter registration and various candidates for local office present. Other groups present included Denton County Friends of the Family, Indivisible Denton and the UNT Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance.

The planning committee worked to make the event intersectional by including speakers of different ethnicities, sexualities and other minority groups.

Jennifer Lane, a professor of music at UNT and coordinator for the event, said intersectionality is important for the visibility and involvement of as many people as possible.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport,” Lane said. “We need to go into the midterm season remembering why this is happening. Americans usually have the luxury of not thinking about politics 24/7, but we don’t have that right now.”

She said everyone, especially students, can get registered to vote, attend debates and follow groups on social media.

Feuerbacher added the importance of realizing “the personal is political.”

“When we show up to these things and see people carrying signs about what we felt was personal to us, we see it’s systemic and we can start a movement,” Feuerbacher said. “There are people sharing your same struggles.”

This was evident at the march, with multiple “Nasty woman” shirts and Black Lives Matter flags visible. There were countless signs, including ones saying “(Tiny) Hands off” with a photo of a uterus, and “So bad even introverts are here.”

Families added to the event – Denton stay-at-home mother Meg Langlitz brought her three children in pussy hats and feminism-related shirts. They attended the march in 2017, and when she told them they were coming again, they repeated the “love not hate makes America great” chant they yelled one year ago.

“They’re the future,” Langlitz said of her children. “If we want to see change we have to make them aware of the status quo. I want them to be fighters.”

Her 5-year-old twin boys, Keaton and Heron, said they were excited to be at the “party.” They held hand-drawn signs, showing their depictions of the phrase “Build bridges, not walls.”

While there were no counter-protesters present, three male UNT students wearing “Make America Great Again” hats were in attendance. One wore a shirt with President Trump’s face next to a cat and the words “Grab ‘Em.”

One of the men, Tom Valdez, said he did not attend to have conversations but to “enjoy the chaos.” He received middle fingers, but others thanked the three for coming out or initiated discussions.

Valdez felt the march’s messages were inconsistent and ignored President Trump’s successes. As for the “Grab ‘Em” shirt, he said it was a meme that went “overboard” and that people should relax.

“My message here is the 19th amendment was a mistake,” Valdez said. “I think the family should vote, not individuals. We need family values. If someone has the capability to have a family, they should do that, then vote.”

His friend and fellow Trump supporter, Kristoffer Melhus, is an international student from Norway who said the march seemed interesting and that he wanted to “hash out ideas” with attendees.

“This isn’t about women as much as it is against Trump,” Melhus said. “Personally, I think it’s a bit stupid.”

While the small group’s presence at the march was well-known, most attendees disregarded them.

“Find the truth you’ll live for and die for,’” Feuerbacher said. “I can think of no more worthy truth than the equality of all persons, to live and die for it.”

Featured Image: Hundreds gather in front of Denton’s Courthouse on the Square to participate in the second annual Women’s March. Omar Gonzalez

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Bianca Mujica

Bianca Mujica

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  1. Attendee
    Attendee January 20, 17:18

    Thanks for this article. The otherwise very nice accompanying photos of the square are from early or late in the event. At the start of the speakers, after the march, the density of the crowd was great. There are lots of photos around that capture the crowd at its peak.

    Reply to this comment
  2. UNT Student
    UNT Student January 21, 13:55

    “My message here is the 19th amendment was a mistake,” Valdez said. “I think the family should vote, not individuals. We need family values. If someone has the capability to have a family, they should do that, then vote.”

    Holy shit, people that stupid are let into UNT? Tom Valdez is mentally ill.

    Reply to this comment

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