KALAMAZOO, Mich. — With several inches of snow covering the regions streets and sidewalks, hundreds braved the cold for the 2019 Kalamazoo Women’s March.
Heading into the event, organizers were unsure of what the turnout would be.
“We didn’t want to cancel anything we wanted to keep doing it,” said Kushi Matharu, who spoke at the march. “We wanted to make sure people were seeing what was happening and seeing that snow can’t stop incredible women and men and people that believe in equality.”
For Mariah Phelps and nearly 200 others, the bad weather wasn’t going to stop them from expressing their views.
Phelps said even with the snow, there was no chance she would miss the march.
“Last night when snowpocalypse was coming I knew I was going to be here today,” Phelps said.
Last year an estimated 3,000 people marched the streets of Kalamazoo, but with temperatures well below freezing and half-foot of snow on the ground, the numbers were down significantly.
Still, while it didn’t have the same numbers as marches in years past, those there say they believe it’s still important for the local community.
“We really need a place for people to come together, be inspired, be happy, and I think this is such a good celebration of inspiration and happiness and equality and women,” Matharu said.
While the crowd of marches was mostly women, Kyle Farris was among dozens of men who turned out to show their support.
“Equality for women in all phases in life is something that’s important,” Farris said. “It’s not just a women’s job to fight for that, it’s guys as well.”
Farris said he was also there to set an example for the two young girls he fosters with his wife .
“Being two little girls, we want to raise them in a home where being treated equally is important and one of the most important things we teach them,” he said.
Dozens of topics including abortion, immigration, and LGBT rights were discussed at the march, but for Phelps it wasn’t just about the issues.
It was about showing young girls like Farris’s children that they do have a platform to fight for what they think is right.
“It’s not so much as what’s being said as who is saying it, who is represented on that stage up there, who shows up and who it’s for,” Phelps said.