Approximately 7,000 people participated in the Women’s March for Arkansas in downtown Little Rock on Saturday, the march’s organizer said. The march was one of hundreds that took place around the country and the world.
“After the election I was lying in bed, depressed, and I vowed to do something before I got up,” said the march’s organizer, Gwendolynn Combs, to the crowd.
She decided to create a Facebook event page, hoping to gather at least 100 people for the march.
Combs addressed a large crowd of women and men, almost all dressed in purple. Purple was a major symbol during the suffragette movement in the early 1900s.
Everyone who participated in the march had their own reason for joining.
“I think that we have to be vigilant that we keep our democracy,” said Donna Quinby of Little Rock. “As females we need to make sure that we don’t lose our rights because we spent a lot of time earning them.”
Andrea Cadelli, a blogger and author from Rogers, marched to support women’s rights for women of all races and sexual orientation.
“I think it’s important to be the voice for those who could not be here themselves,” Cadelli said.
She plans on becoming more involved in support groups, such as the Progressive Arkansas Women’s group and also doing more to support the LGBTQ community.
There were several UA students who participated in the march.
“I wanted to stand in solidarity not only with the women marching, but for all other causes,” said graduate student Katie Maschino. “This isn’t a game anymore.”
She marched with her husband Chase Stoudenmire, both fighting for diverse causes.
Stoudenmire, a graduate student, said he was inspired by his wife and her friends to join the march.
“I wanted to be there with my wife,” Stoudenmire said. “I was sympathetic to the issue and wanted to be there to support her.”
Both Maschino and Stoudenmire plan to educate themselves on other issues in order to keep the movement going.
While there were many who support the march, some did not.
“Although I absolutely support their right to protest and march, there are so many other beneficial things that all the time and effort organizing this could’ve done,” said Nicholas Lisowski, a UA senior.
“This doesn’t help bring together a country at odds with each other,” Lisowski said.
Mary Alice Fancyboy, a UA junior, also did not support the march.
“While I wholeheartedly support the advancement of equal opportunity, I believe the march is an unproductive way to go about achieving this standard,” Fancyboy said.
Although Fancyboy did not approve of the march, she acknowledged the participants’ first amendment rights.
“Though I disagree with their actions,” Fancyboy said. “I respect these women and their colleagues for exercising their first amendment rights.”