‘Women are tough’: Hundreds brave cold at Madison’s Women’s Wave rally
MADISON, Wis. — Despite the cold and snow, hundreds of supporters took to the Capitol steps for the Women’s Wave event in Wisconsin Saturday, hoping to share the message that women are tough and aren’t going anywhere.
The rally in Madison is one of several women’s marches across the country, including one that drew thousands in Washington, D.C. They mark the third annual marches after the first in 2017 following President Donald Trump’s inauguration.
Along with celebrating historic wins for women in 2018’s midterm elections, march organizers said they’re also using the opportunity to bring about policy change.
“It feels really good, even though it feels really cold,” Madison resident Rebecca Black said.
It was certainly no heat wave, but outside Wisconsin’s Capitol building, you could find a Women’s Wave on Saturday morning.
“It is freezing, but I think everybody being together is making it a very warm moment,” Black said. “There’s certainly a huge change happening, so that is exciting, because we need it.”
Black braved the cold for the Women’s March with her 5-year-old daughter, Olivia.
“I hope she sees that if something is not right in the world, you do something about it,” Black said. “It’s their future.”
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“It’s very empowering,” Jayci Hoff said.
Snow or no snow, Hoff and Kaylee Day drove from La Crosse to meet up with Lauren Ligocki, from Milwaukee, to show their stances on issues like the government shutdown and human rights.
“I like to focus my attention on the #MeToo movement and domestic violence prevention,” Hoff said. “It’s nice to be surrounded by women who are like-minded, and men. It’s awesome to see a lot of men here, too.”
Though it’s not quite the turnout Women’s March Wisconsin organizers were hoping for, communications director Amy Dean estimated the crowd topped out at about 1,000, and those who came spoke loudly enough.
“With the winter storm, we knew turnout would be low,” Dean said. “Instead of canceling, we said, ‘We’re going to show up.’ We’re not going anywhere, and that’s going to be sending a clear message to our legislators.”
Beyond that message, the group has a 77-page legislative agenda for the Capitol, including focuses on expanding health care, raising awareness for missing and murdered indigenous women, improving the criminal justice system and reforming immigration.
“We’re ready to fight for everything on it,” Dean said.
It’s a fight these women are showing up for.
“We’re tough. Women are tough, and we’re in Wisconsin and we’re doing it,” Dean said.
“Together, things can change,” Black said.
“We’re heading in the right direction,” Ligocki said, “but we’ve still got a long way to go.”
Women’s March Wisconsin collected items for people in need because of the government shutdown Saturday. Food and supplies will be donated to the River Food Pantry in Madison and Program the Parks Milwaukee.
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