Burqueños gathered at Civic Plaza for the 2019 Albuquerque’s Women’s March on Jan. 20. People from all communities and walks of life came together for a common cause — women’s rights.
The rally featured keynote speakers including: Samia Assad the Albuquerque Women’s March chair, U.S. Congresswoman Deb Haaland, Public Lands Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard, a variety of University of New Mexico professors and other speakers.
The Albuquerque Women’s March is held in conjunction with other marches held in cities across the nation, including the national Women’s March in Washington D.C. This was the third year of the march and was dubbed the “Women’s Wave.”
Attendees flooded Civic Plaza chanting “No border, no walls, justice for all” and held signs reading “No Ban, No Wall,” “Fight Truth Decay,” “Not my president” and “Vaginas brought you into this world and vaginas will vote you out,” among many more in the sea of people.
People could be heard chanting and singing songs throughout the day — whooping and hollering whenever a speaker said something that particularly resonated with them.
One attendee, Naomi Yu, went to the march because she said there are voices that need to be heard, from people of color to women, and that the march was one of the places to hear these voices. Yu added that she grew up in a family that did not teach her to protect or support herself, but going to a rally is a place she can learn these things and see powerful, inspiring women.
“There was an Asian-American woman who spoke here today and that meant a lot to me,” Yu said.
Another attendee voiced the importance of having her voice heard, adding that going to rallies provides a form of power and unification.
“Strength and unification is the way for women to infiltrate a predominantly male and predominantly white system,” said the woman, who wished to remain anonymous. “For me it is important to see women supporting each other and building each other up.”
Amai Bevan, an organizer of the march through the March for Our Lives movement, said she became an activist after the February 2018 school shooting of Majority Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
“We partnered with the women’s march because the intersectionality of (women’s rights and gun violence) is very important,” Bevan said.
Bevan said it is important for people to become involved in what they believe in, and that is why people came out to the march.
Garcia Richards spoke about the important elections that occurred last November when New Mexico elected the first Democratic Latina governor. New Mexico was also one of two states to elect the first Native American women to congress.
“Our public land is indigenous land. We needed someone in our land office who would stand up for the people whose land this is. It's been three months since the election, but we are still picking up the pieces of glass from the ceiling that we broke in November.”
May Day 505 was one of the groups present at the march. Henry Edwards, a march attendee there with the group, said May Day 505 is a group of activists that organizes on the platform of anti-capitalism, anti-colonialism, anti-racism and feminism.
“I believe that we need to organize power from below and social movements need teeth,” Edwards said.
Isabella Twocrow participated in the march because she said there are people in New Mexico who do not have their voices heard. As an indigenous woman, she said she has to come to this march and rally every year because no matter what is happening around her, the march is important.
“I came here to support indigenous women. There are a lot of indigenous youth in New Mexico that need to be heard. As a woman you have support here if you don't have support elsewhere,” Twocrow said.
University of New Mexico professor Dr. Kirsten Pai Buick was one of the many speakers who took the stage during the day’s events. Buick told the story of her mother who motivated her to fight against racism, sexism and other forms of prejudice.
She said her mother would not add to the challenges she faced growing up as an African-American woman. Instead she encouraged Buick to “relish the fight.” Buick called upon the crowd to come together against those that would break minority groups down.
“(My mother) taught me to question racism and question sexism. She taught me to never let someone else's prejudices to become my burden,” Buick said.
Megan Holmen is the assistant news editor at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @megan_holmen.