Snow fell on the crowd bundled in coats and holding signs in downtown Casper Saturday. The coordinator for the second Women’s March in Casper, Jane Ifland, told them she was asked several times if the event was still on in spite of the chilly afternoon.
“I said wait a minute, these are Wyoming people,” Ifland said into her megaphone.
The demonstrators headed out along Second Street chanting, “Love trumps hate.” Ifland estimated at least 350 people participated in the second women’s march.
Megan Saulsbury, 24, demonstrated with her wife, Sarah Saulsbury.
The past year has reinforced the reasons Megan and her wife Sarah march, the couple said before the march. They marched for equal rights for people including women, people of color, the LGTBQ community and for diversity of religion, they said.
“It’s no less important today than it was a year ago,” Megan said.
The couple came to take a stand for national to local issues, including supporting advocates proposing nondiscrimination policies to the Casper City Council, Sarah said.
“All those things are so important,” she said. “Really change starts locally. You’ve got to get involved here before anything else can change.”
Julie Greiner and her daughter, Elana, 14, marched in polar bear costumes and signs that read “We’re starving for ethical leadership” and “2000 lies later and here we are again!?!”
With a daughter born in Samoa and another who’s gay, equality for women, LQTBQ rights and immigration topped her list for reasons to march on Saturday, she said.
“We have to keep fighting to undo the damage that Trump is doing and to preserve our democracy,” Greiner added.
Kenneth Colyar marched with his wife and daughters, ages 7 and 9. He’s unhappy with the current administration and wants to teach his daughters they have the right to demonstrate, he said.
“I want them growing up knowing that, they don’t have to sit in the sidelines if they don’t want to, that they can march, that they can be heard,” Colyar said. “If you are a woman or a minority in this country, and you want your views represented in Washington, you have to run for office. And you have to support your fellow women and minorities who are running for office. Do not rely on old white men to represent you, that is not working, you have to run for office and vote. Maybe my kids will run for office one day.”
Lisa Knapp mentioned several concerns that brought her out to the march, including proposed laws allowing doctors to refuse service based on religious views and white supremacy becoming more acceptable to many, including the president, she said.
“The voices that we’re marching against have just gotten louder in the last year,” she said. “It feels like there’s a bigger platform for them.”
The Lyric filled afterwards for speakers and an open mic. Several women spoke on topics from women with disabilities to sexual assault and abuse to harassment they’ve experienced at school and work.
A woman talked about conversations with her daughters about the #metoo movement and realizing each had been victims of assault and harassment.
“I think to myself how does this happen, how did we get here?” she said “They call it locker room talk. And it starts here in our community. It starts with our dress codes in our school that put the burden on our daughters.”
A local high school student spoke about her anger over experiences including being sent home for a too-thin dress, while a boy could wear a sexist shirt, having the word “tease” painted across her locker, being afraid to walk alone at night and feeling she needs to say she has a boyfriend to deflect unwanted attention.
“Because society screams, ‘don’t get raped’ instead of ‘don’t rape,’” she said, to applause from the crowd.
Jane Ifland estimated a smaller crowd this year, but she was pleased with the turnout and the support.
“I would say that this year’s march was more focused on women,” Ifland said. “I think the song, ‘I Can’t Keep Quiet Anymore’ is still ringing in my ears.”