Nome Women’s March shows unity of community
On Saturday, Jan 21, approximately 80 Nome women, men and children joined 17 other Alaska communities, and five million marchers around the world, to demonstrate their concern for the new US administration’s vision of American.
The heavily bundled group, some in traditional parkies, gathered on Front Street across from the post office at noon, in temperatures of approximately -20° F. The marchers, some pushing baby strollers and others pulled by dogs, headed down Front Street with a police escort holding signs aloft. Many wore pink hats with cat-like ears, as reference and resistance to a comment made by presidential candidate Donald J. Trump, which was revealed during the recent campaign.
Marchers chatted amongst themselves, waved at passerbys, but for the most part let their signs do their talking. One prominent sign in the design of an American flag captured the many views of marchers in Nome and around the world and read, “In Our America All People are Equal, Love Wins, Black Lives Matter, Immigrants & Refuges are Welcome, Disabilities are Respected, Women Are in Charge of Their Own Bodies, People & Planet Are Valued Over Profit, Diversity is Celebrated.”
The idea for a Nome march began much like the march on Washington began – with one woman and the Internet. Nome resident Jenny Mills explains, “A number of sister marches were planned for Alaskan cities, towns and villages. It seemed like a no-brainer that Nome should be involved.” On Wednesday, January 18, Mills posted this message on several Nome-based social media sites. “On Saturday, women all over the country are marching in support of gaining equal rights and recognizing women's rights as human rights. The main march is taking place in D.C., where 200,000 marchers are expected. Some communities in Alaska are having local marches. Is anyone in Nome interested in participating? Please e-mail me if so.”
Mills received positive responses and word spread. “We threw this thing together in a couple of days thanks to the enthusiastic help of local women. And the City of Nome, the Nome Police Department, and our local DOT office were gracious in allowing us to do this and NPD provided us with an escort,” said Mills.
The marchers headed west on Front Street, turned right onto Bering Street and assembled on the front lawn of Old St. Joe’s for a group photograph. With frosted eyelashes and scarves, the group quickly retreated from the cold with waves and smiles. The march had ended but Miller explains that purpose of the march isn’t over, “The organizers of the main Women’s March have released their next plan, which is the 10 actions in 100 days initiative, with the next steps to take posted on their website, womensmarch.com.”
Inspired by the impressive turnout, Mills is now considering starting a local Pride organization. “I was thinking about supportive services and outreach for LGBTQ youth and adults in our community. I'm totally open to ideas. I want to help kids who maybe don’t have support systems in place at home,” she said.