Editor's Note: The original version of this article said Minnesota elected the first Muslim woman to Congress. That is incorrect. She is the country's first Muslim woman legislator. That has been corrected. The Daily Lobo apologizes for any confusion.
Hundreds gathered in Albuquerque’s Downtown Civic Plaza for the 2018 Women’s March Sunday morning. Marches like this one were held this weekend across the globe, from London to Washington D.C. to Albuquerque.
The temperature dipped below 40 degrees, but participants bundled up and headed to the intersection of Fifth Street and Marquette Avenue to start their walk, which ended at Civic Plaza. Participants gathered at 10 a.m., and the first speakers at Civic Plaza began around 11 a.m.
The event’s theme this year was geared toward inspiring young women to vote in the upcoming local elections.
This topic has gained popularity, as many firsts came about from previous elections around the United States — from the first openly transgender female elected in Virginia to the first Muslim woman elected as a legislator in Minnesota.
Becker Mitchell, 2, holds a sign during Sunday’s women’s march at the Civic Plaza.
A woman’s rights supporter holds a sign while wearing a cat costume during the women’s march at the Civic Plaza. Hundreds of women, children and men attended the event in support of gender rights and other causes.
Aside from the central theme, many aspects of oppression in women’s lives were discussed in the speeches and showcased on participants’ signs.
Indigenous communities were also discussed during the march, with a focus on calling for justice for unsolved murders of indigenous women. Some of the speakers mentioned the eleven West Mesa murders from 2009, which still remain cold cases to this day.
University of New Mexico alum Hallie Rossbach said she felt connected to her community and fellow women by participating in the Women’s March.
“I’m a mom, I’m a woman individually and it’s scary when you feel like the rights that you have may not be there for future generations,” Rossbach said. “It’s scary to think that the opportunities that I’ve had may not be available to (my child) — and that’s another reason to fight for things like this.”
UNM student Emily Ganley said all of the participants displayed support for every woman, of every color.
Many participants in the Women’s March expressed concern of questionable future availability of female reproductive rights through their signage and speeches — the #MeToo effort was also represented among signs.
“Both I, and friends, have experienced sexual harassment, and I want a world in which that doesn’t happen anymore,” said UNM student Antonio Perez.
Perez said he felt that the Women’s March also helps raise awareness and address problems faced by minorities in the U.S.
“I think it helps bring (us) together in a demonstration of support for everyone who’s been hurt by policies made in the past year and by historical instances of racism, sexism and homophobia,” Perez said.
“Sometimes it’s so disheartening to hear in the news all of the sexism and racism that exists,” said UNM student Melanie Cartron. “Not only in politics but in American culture in general.“
Men participated by showing signs of support for those fighting issues regarding female oppression.
“It’s important to have a united and creative voice for people who feel silenced by a system that systematically suppresses them or makes them feel like their voice isn’t heard,” said UNM student Christian Doyle.
UNM student Elisa Davidson said she felt empowered by the Women’s March demonstration and was proud to be surrounded by so many strong women.
“We are all people who support women, and it’s amazing to see this kind of support and solidarity, especially in the current political climate,” Davidson said. “It’s a great way to encourage UNM students to be politically active and find causes that they believe in.”
Cartron said she felt excited to be involved in a movement that was banded together by men and women fighting for the same purpose.
Rebecca Brusseau is a news reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @r_brusseau.