Thousands attend local solidarity march
COLUMBIA - At least 3,600 people attended Saturday's Mid-Missouri Solidarity March, according to one organizer of the event, which coincided with the Women’s March on Washington, D.C.
Mark Haim, director at Mid-Missouri Peaceworks, said Monday he knew of someone who had counted the crowds during the march and counted 3,608 people. Haim added to the number between 50 to 100 people who were at the rally but may not have participated in the march for various reasons.
Haim said it was a very diverse crowd, and the largest for any event he'd helped organize.
Carolyn Amparan, a Sierra Club representative, said this event is important to the community.
"A lot of people are feeling alone, and some are even afraid because of their minority status," Amparan said. "And so by having this large group of people come together to say that we welcome minorities, that we welcome immigrants, that we want action on climate change, whatever your issue is, there will be people here representing it today. And everyone will feel the spirit of community, and that we want to move forward in a positive manner."
Mark Haim, director of Mid-Missouri Peaceworks, said they are coming together as a community.
"We are gathering to promote a people's agenda, as opposed to Donald Trump's agenda," Haim said. "It's an agenda that serves all of us, that is one that takes into account our need for social and economic justice, for inclusion, for environmental quality, for peace, for civil liberties. All of these issues are critical."
Perry Bigsoldier, a representative from Protectors of Water and Land, said the local groups are finding out they are stronger together.
"Although I'm about, our group is about, protecting water and land, we're all still related," Bigsoldier said. "So the organizations like Planned Parenthood still affect me, still affect all of us. We should be woven together instead of apart."
Dean Lisle, an onlooker, said he wanted to see how many people would come to this event.
"I lived near St. Louis most of my adult life and a very conservative southern Missouri type area, really," Lisle said. "It's refreshing for us here because I think the people have a little bit more forward looking outlook than a lot of people and we really appreciate the city and all it does for folks."
The march began at 1:30 p.m. at the Boone County Courthouse Plaza near Eighth Street and Walnut Street in downtown Columbia.
The march went through downtown Columbia and ended back at the courthouse where there was music and speakers.
There was also be a rally for representatives with the activist groups to speak.
There was also a companion gathering on Friday afternoon at Traditions Plaza on the MU campus.
Around 1,600 people on the event's Facebook page have marked they went to the march.
According to the Facebook event page, the following groups are involved as co-sponsors for the Solidarity March and Rally:
Columbia Area NOW
CoMo for Progress
International Socialist Organization Columbia MO branch
Mid-Missouri Fellowship of Reconciliation
Mid-Missourians for Justice in Palestine
Missouri Civil Liberties Association
MDP Women’s Caucus
Mizzou Energy Action Coalition
Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense
NAACP, Columbia Missouri Branch
Native American Support Group
Osage Group Sierra Club
Our Revolution, Mid-Missouri
Peoples’ Visioning/ Columbia Climate Change Coalition
Planned Parenthood Great Plains
Protectors of Water and Land-Columbia, MO
Race Matters, Friends
St. Francis House Catholic Worker
Social Action Team of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Mid-Missouri
Haim said this is a building block to future activism to encourage people to feel empowered and recognize actions make a difference.
The only opposition to the event KOMU 8 saw downtown was Trump supporters waving a flag out of their car.