Thousands gather at Michigan Capitol to protest for women’s rights and human rights

When Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum looked out into the never-ending crowd on Jan. 21 as she addressed the Women’s March on Lansing, she saw her sons surrounded by thousands of empowered women and men and felt hope for the future. Looking back, Byrum said the vivacity of the crowd was one of her favorite moments of the day, both calming her public speaking fear and creating a positive atmosphere.

The march’s home base was in Washington D.C. and the Women’s March on Lansing was one of hundreds of sister marches around the world with over 2 million protesters internationally, according to USA Today. Byrum said she believes that Americans’ right to protest should be utilized and that it is one of the ways to let others know they are not alone.

The marches were in response to the inauguration of President Donald Trump who plans to implement new laws that worry many. Michigan State University student Jessica Hanna attended the march. She said she is deeply concerned by the actions taken by Trump. Hanna also said she is worried about how Trump views Muslims after a recent immigration ban.

Another marcher, mother of two Cristina Wright is an immigrant from Romania who now lives in Flint. She said she was proud to marching and representing the women from her country.

Standing beside Wright was her 10-year-old daughter Aurora Wright holding a sign bigger than she was. It read “Union, Women, Strength” and “I love immigrants.” Aurora Wright said she wanted to fight for women’s rights.

Others in the East Lansing area were not as perceptive to the idea of the march. MSU freshman Katie Gervasi said she believes that protests in the past have worked, but not the Women’s March because of the lack of reasoning given by the marchers.

Despite some opposition, Byrum said she remains optimistic.

“We will hold his administration accountable and we will not go away,” Byrum said. “We will not back down.”

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