MN Lawmakers Become Leaders of Resistance

McCollum tells protesters to stand up against President Trump and his right wing Congress

Image Credit: Preya Samsundar/Alpha News MN
(Left to Right) Sen. Torres Ray, Rep. Ilhan Omar, Rep. Erin Maye Quade, Rep. Peggy Flanagan lead the Women's March to the Capitol in St. Paul (Alpha News MN/Preya Samsundar)

ST. PAUL, MN — Saturday’s March for Women saw approximately 100,000 men, women, and children take to the the streets of Minnesota’s Capitol to protest various issues including the start to President Donald Trump’s administration.

The event had speakers and musical performances from Minnesota natives. Several female lawmakers in Minnesota also made appearances to show their solidarity with the crowd.

While Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) met with women before the march in Washington D.C. she did ask the event organizers to pass along a message to event attendees, “women’s rights are human rights.”

Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith (D-MN) and potential candidate for Minnesota’s governor race spoke to the crowd first. “I am a sister and I see all of my sisters here today. They are strong, beautiful, and brave” she told the crowd. Smith spoke of the trials the matriarchs in her family faced during their own lives.

Smith concluded her remarks by stating, “ It’s easy to be an optimist when things go our way but the challenge is to find it [optimism] when things do not go our way. I march because I believe in economic equality. Marching is an action word. Believe in your own ability to bring about change.”

Representative Ilhan Omar (D-Minneapolis) was met with thunderous applause as event organizers introduced her to the crowd. Omar asked the crowd “are you ready for the resistance?”

Speaking in depth about trials and tribulations women around the world faced, Omar detailed her trip back home to Somalia where she notes their attempt to have a 30% quota in parliament. She told the crowd she challenged the President of Somalia to insure that 30% quota was guaranteed.

The President replied by noting the lack of women in Congress. “I think they [women] deserve more than 50% in Congress and I want to work at that” Omar told a cheering crowd. Finishing up her remarks, Omar told the crowd “I am here for women, for transgender, queer, immigrants, refugees, young women and old, and I am here for our girls and those yet to be born.” “ As we stand in front of the people’s house, I remind you that you are the powerful ones. This country works for you.”

Sen. Patricia Torres Ray (D-MN) took the stage and spoke of Minnesota’s history in the advocation of women’s rights. Torres Ray explains the movement began with 14 women in Hastings, MN in the late 1800’s. “It took 125 years for the first immigrant to be elected to Minnesota’s State Senate.” Torres Ray became the first Latina to be elected to the Minnesota Senate in 2006. Torres Ray encouraged members of the crowd to continue organizing. “We are powerful my sisters. But we need to strengthen our organizing with other women. With those with different color, religion, native, and language.” Torres Ray encouraged protesters to “organize against the political direction that seeks to take our rights away, against white privileged men who are afraid of our power. Together we are stronger and unstoppable.”

Congresswoman Betty McCollum declared “ there are politicians in Washington who are trying to take our rights away. I work there, I know this for a fact.” McCollum told the crowd that she was pro-Obamacare and women needed to stand up against President Trump and his right wing Congress.” Ending her remarks, McCollum rallied the crowd stating “keep your hands off our bodies and keep your hands off Planned Parenthood.”

Rep. Penny Flanagan (D-St. Louis Park) told the crowd “we will never stop fighting for progress.” She spoke of standing up for paid family leave, early childhood care, and affordable daycare. Flanagan encouraged the crowd to “stand up to politics of division and fear and any attack that will bring us backwards. No single election can break what has been built. We are standing together in solidarity.”

Sen. Sandy Pappas (D-Hibbing) lead the crowd in a chant “REFUSE, REBEL, RESIST” against different policies Pappas claimed Republicans and the Trump administration would try to impose. Pappas claimed Republicans would get rid of minimum wage, overturn Roe v. Wade, and deny climate change.

Over a million women participated in the Women’s March across the country on Saturday. Pro-Life advocates plan to hold the March for Life in St.Paul on Sunday afternoon. The March for Life in Washington D.C. will occur on January 27, 2017.

Preya Samsundar

Preya Samsundar was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN. She graduated from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities this Spring with a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology, with a minor in Strategic Communications. Preya has previously worked on several State Campaign Races.