In Photos: A Dwindling, Stalwart Crowd At 2020 Women's March

Jan 18, 2020

A stalwart crowd of protesters gathered at the state Capitol Saturday for the 2020 Women’s March. The event was one of 200 sister marches held across the country for the popular protest that began in 2017 as a rebuke to President Donald Trump, the day after his inauguration.

Now, in it’s fourth year, crowd sizes have dwindled. In 2017 it’s estimated that three million people participated in marches nationwide. The Michigan march attracted between 8,000 and 9,000 people to the state’s capital city. But this year, as President Donald Trump seeks reelection, the march gathered just over 250 people according to an estimate from officials with capitol facilities.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer spoke to the crowd, referencing the day she spoke at the 2017 march as a candidate for Governor. She noted the swath of electoral victories women have had in the state, electing record numbers of women to the state legislature, flipping two congressional districts, and sweeping Michigan’s top statewide posts.

“But since that day in 2017, we have elected women to serve in every top constitutional office in the state of Michigan. We’ve lived two republican congressional districts to Elissa Slotkin and Hayley Stevens,” said Whitmer.  

Last year, the Michigan march was moved to Detroit to improve accessibility and draw a more diverse crowd. The event gathered just over 1,000 protesters despite similarly dour weather conditions. This came after leadership helming the national Women’s March was vocally criticized for catering to white-women protesters. The group gathered in Lansing Saturday was diverse under their pink hats and parkas, unbothered by the freezing temperatures.

The march took place as the president begins to stand trial in the U.S. Senate for abuse of power and obstruction of congress. Earlier in the week Virginia became the 38th state to pass the Equal Rights Amendment leaving many of the objectives of the Women’s march, reforming President Trump and securing equality for Women, tacitly answered. But, marchers in Lansing avowed they’d continue marching, even if Donald Trump loses. The fight for women’s rights, they said, is far from over and they still have electoral victories to claim and defend.

Gayle Snyder, left, and Jill Bornemeier, right, from Brighton Michigan attended the 2017 Women's March on Washington. This is their fourth Women's March, and both say it won't be their last.
Credit Abigail Censky, WKAR
"People are burned out. [I] just think a lot of people are getting frustrated that no matter what this president does or says that his supporters still support him and it is so hard to comprehend. But I am not going to give up if there is so much at stake."

- Jill Bornemeier, a software tester from Ann Arbor. This is her fourth Women's March.

The crowd cheers as political dignitaries speak at the 2020 Capitol Women's March in Lansing.
Credit Abigail Censky, WKAR

Mariah Smith, Lindsay Durham, and Rosalyn Schaefer all go to Michigan State University. They braved hazardous road conditions and freezing temperatures to be at the Women's March in Lansing.
Credit Abigail Censky, WKAR
"Looking across the crowd it is really nice to see a bunch of diverse people and the reason my sign says the future is intersectional rather than the future is female is because it does take everyone to create a community that we want to live in."

- Rosalyn Schaefer, 21-year-old MSU student, this is her second Women's March.

Protesters, carrying a "Girls Just Want To Have Fundamental Human Rights" sign at the march.
Credit Abigail Censky, WKAR
Taylor Gantz, Carl Morrison and Corinne Carpenter cheer as Dana Nessel, the state's first openly gay attorney general addresses the crowd at the 2020 women's march.
Credit Abigail Censky, WKAR
"It scares me a bit thinking about the young boys growing up in rural areas like I did and if they are only hearing really hateful things that’s worrisome, so I hope this conversation never stops and I hope we are able to keep talking about why these things are important. So, if there are people out there who do not feel comfortable with the kind of hate that they are hearing, that they know there is something else."

- Carl Morrison, orginally from the Upper Penninsula. This is his second Women's March.