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For one group marching on Saturday, a chance to show solidarity

Several students worked diligently on signs and hats to carry and wear in Saturday's Women's March on Lansing. It's a sister march to a larger event happening in Washington, D.C.

The students were gathered around a table in the offices of the Graduate Employees Union on Michigan State University's campus. All of those working on signs in this room agreed - the reason they were making signs or participating was to show solidarity with those who might feel marginalized by the incoming Trump administration. 

"I want marginalized people to know that there are a lot of folks around here who support them, and that the hateful rhetoric and the anti-immigrant and anti-disabled and and racist language of this campaign is not how everybody feels," Kathryn Frens, a student in the school's Fisheries and Wildlife program, said. "And it's important to me to come out specifically to say I disagree with that."

A photo posted by Michigan Radio (@michiganradio) on Jan 20, 2017 at 11:48am PST

"Everyone deserves equality. Or I guess more important, equity, because not everyone's coming from the same place," Cathleen Fry said. "We're never going to get all the way there, but we need to keep trying."

Some in the room were concerned about their future and the future of those important to them.

Fry, who's studying nuclear astrophysics, was particularly concerned about the job market.

"I'd like to stay in nuclear science, probably in a national lab," she said. "And I hope the national labs are still funded at the level they are now because even now the market's not great."

A photo posted by Michigan Radio (@michiganradio) on Jan 20, 2017 at 11:33am PST

Although Patricia Jaimes is unable to attend Saturday's march, she was still working on signs in support of those who are. For her, she specifically has concerns for her 7-year-old daughter who lives with a disability. 

"After watching the Betsy DeVos hearing, that totally freaked me out," she said. "For my daughter, specifically, it was the fact that [DeVos] didn't know that the Individuals With a Disabilities Education Act was a federal law, and thought that it should be up to the states to ensure that schools are good to people with disabilities."

Allie Genia of Mason, Michigan, is also unable to attend the march (she has to work on Saturday). But she feels like the reason many are marching is because of something opponents of the protest may not understand. 

"A lot of what I think folks need to realize that maybe they're not realizing right away is that there's a lot of folks out here who feel threatened - and for good reason," she said. "Not by anything that they did, but they're worried about their basic humanity."

A photo posted by Michigan Radio (@michiganradio) on Jan 20, 2017 at 12:05pm PST

Many of those planning to march on Saturday also believe that more work needs to be done after the march is over.

"I'm trying to get more involved at the local level, at the level of the city of Lansing, at the level of the university," Frens said. "I'm working a little bit with the GEU political action committee. I am living in my neighborhood, which I love and trying to see what kinds of services or projects I can do there. I'm trying to invest in where I am. And I'm trying to work out how to do better." 

The Women's March on Lansing is expected to take place from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday starting at the Capitol. Michigan Radio plans to cover the event.

Jodi is Michigan Public's Director of Digital Audiences, leading and developing the station’s overall digital strategy.
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