women

Kalamazoo women’s march honors Ginsburg’s legacy, encourages voters to head to polls

KALAMAZOO — More than a thousand people braved the chilly temperatures Saturday morning at Bronson Park for the Kalamazoo women’s rally and march in honor of late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.



a group of people walking down the street: Protesters march down South Park Street in downtown Kalamazoo, carrying signs and flags as part of the Kalamazoo women's march on Saturday, Oct. 17.


© Samuel J. Robinson | srobinson@mlive.com/mlive.com/TNS
Protesters march down South Park Street in downtown Kalamazoo, carrying signs and flags as part of the Kalamazoo women’s march on Saturday, Oct. 17.

The second demonstration of its kind in Kalamazoo since January, Saturday’s event coincided with marches held nationwide to celebrate the life and legacy of Ginsburg, ramp up voter enthusiasm and oppose the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

Related: Women’s march in Ann Arbor encourages people to vote, empower women

More than 1,100 people gathered in Bronson Park, according to organizers. Some people brought signs, flags, facemasks and mementos that gave a nod to Ginsburg, who passed away on Sept. 18.

The event was emceed by Kalamazoo County Commissioner Stephanie Moore, who brought Kalamazoo’s DJ Chuck to provide live music and entertainment throughout the afternoon.



a group of people standing in front of a sign: People walk down Michigan Avenue in downtown Kalamazoo as part of the Kalamazoo women's march on Saturday, Oct. 17.


© Samuel J. Robinson | srobinson@mlive.com/mlive.com/TNS
People walk down Michigan Avenue in downtown Kalamazoo as part of the Kalamazoo women’s march on Saturday, Oct. 17.

Organizers said the death of Ginsburg, a leading litigator of women’s rights and an icon to advocates, and the subsequent nomination by President Trump to replace Ginsburg’s seat with Barrett, was the catalyst for Saturday’s event.

Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill have debated whether or not the president should make a nomination so close to an election. A similar debate happened in 2016 when the Republican-led Senate blocked then-President Barack Obama’s nomination.

Joe “Annie” Morgan, the organizer behind Kalamazoo’s march Saturday said Republicans in the US Senate should let the people have a say in who they want to replace Ginsburg in the Supreme Court.

“The GOP trying to nominate Amy Barrett three weeks before an election, I mean c’mon— you want to talk about packing the court, that’s exactly what Republicans are doing,” Morgan said.

Morgan and others who took the stage stressed the march meant more than just a vocal opposition to Barrett’s confirmation to the US Supreme Court, which the Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on Oct. 22, but an opposition of everyone who they say is working against civil rights, the rights of women, and members of the LGBTQ+ communities.



a person holding a sign: Marchers begin walking down South Park Street carrying the women's march sign.


© Samuel J. Robinson | srobinson@mlive.com/mlive.com/TNS
Marchers begin walking down South Park Street carrying the women’s march sign.

“The most important thing we can do is vote,” said Diane Melvin, director of religious education at People’s Church in Kalamazoo. “It is time for us to rise up together for equity and justice — the time is right for change. We need to envision the type of world we want to live in, a community that regards all people regardless of gender, their gender identity, who they love or the color of their skin,” Melvin said.



a person holding a sign: Dozens of people came to Bronson Park carrying signs and flags in honor of late Justice Ginsburg.


© Samuel J. Robinson | srobinson@mlive.com/mlive.com/TNS
Dozens of people came to Bronson Park carrying signs and flags in honor of late Justice Ginsburg.

Melvin was one of several speakers at Saturday’s event who spoke to the importance of voting out Republican politicians, who activists say are attempting to roll back decades of policy in regards to women’s rights.

“Going back to the 50 1/4 u2032s is what’s at stake,” one of the organizers, Michelle Zukowski-Serlin, told the crowd. “Amy Coney Barrett is going to turn all of these things Ginsburg accomplished back.”

In a spirited address to the crowd surrounding the Rotary Stage, activist and retired professor Dr. Kate Cook repeated a famed Ginsburg quote to a burst of applause.

“Women belong in all places where decisions are being made,” Cook said, quoting the late Supreme Court Justice. “Ginsburg helped us all to see that women can help to create real change, and she worked so hard toward the end of her life. I want us to use our memories of Ruth in our struggles for justice for women.”

Circling the streets along Bronson Park, marchers walked down the sidewalks heading north on Park Street, then turning east on Michigan Avenue, then south on Rose Street, and turning west on South Street before arriving back at the park.

After just three weeks of planning the event, Zukowski-Serlin said she was inspired by the work of dozens of volunteers, as well as the city, which she said helped secure the park.

“Within three days we had 12 people helping us, within five days we had Mayor Anderson helping us,” Zukowski-Serlin said. “It really built up and we have so many involved because people have an energy— they want to make things better. We’re tired of the chaos and fighting and name-calling, we really just want a little normal.”

Read more:

Kalamazoo women’s march planned in memory of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Women’s march in Ann Arbor encourages people to vote, empower women

Why Black Lives Matter to those leading protests in Kalamazoo

Kalamazoo protesters call for ‘fresh start’ from incoming chief during march to police headquarters

Kalamazoo outlines steps to ensure fair election after calls from concerned citizens

3 takeaways from U.S. Rep. Fred Upton and state Rep. Jon Hoadley debate

———

©2020 MLive.com, Walker, Mich.

Visit MLive.com, Walker, Mich. at www.mlive.com.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Continue Reading

Source Article