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Thousands march across Michigan for women's rights

Posted at 8:10 PM, Jan 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-23 13:41:18-05

Thousands of women, men and children took to the streets in Michigan on Saturday.

In Detroit, Ann Arbor and Lansing thousands of people gathered to make their voices heard. Each march was a solidarity march to go along with the estimated 150,000-plus women who attended the “Women’s March on Washington” in the nation’s capitol.

“My daughter is gay, and we have fought for her rights for so many years,” said Pat Ballard, a grandmother who despite being in a wheelchair showed up to get her own message out. “Everybody has the right to love who they want.”

Ballard was one of the several thousand people in Ann Arbor.

Christopher Taylor, the Ann Arbor mayor, told 7 Action News that he couldn’t even get estimates from organizers on how large it grew; but noted that it was larger than he had expected.

“I’m just happy to see everyone out,” said Taylor. “The streets are filled. This is powerful.”

One marcher drove from Toledo, Ohio because she hadn’t heard of any gatherings near her hometown.

In Detroit, the crowd stretched for more than a dozen city blocks. Organizers for the Detroit march said they had an RSVP list that stated more than 1,200 people showed. Early estimates indicated that more than double that number showed.

The march had an over-arching theme of “women’s rights,” however, many marchers had their own thoughts and feelings for why they attended.

Chants ranged from “Black Lives Matter,” to “Love Trumps Hate.” People hung from fifth story apartments near Wayne State in Detroit ringing cowbells. Drivers stopped and laid on their horns.

Susan Warrow, who turned 50 on Saturday, said she was overwhelmed to see the crowds.

“We sit alone in our houses and we watch what’s on television and we can get depressed and despondent about the turn of events happening in our country,” said Warrow. “I think when we’re all together we can realize there aren’t more of them than us.”

The events in Michigan were more, or less, solidarity marches for those who couldn’t attend events planned in Washington, D.C.

The event, which started as a single Facebook post by a woman worried about election results, blossomed into a national rallying cry for people to unite supporting women’s rights, immigrants, the LGBTQ community and others who felt threatened by the political climate as the Donald Trump administration is moving into the White House.

While many directed their anger at Trump, Warrow said that people need to focus on more than politics that can be boiled down to conservative or liberal.

“Our country can’t be a trophy that is like a pennant that goes from the red team to the blue team every four, or eight, years. We have to find a way to work together.”

Events are continuing throughout the country this weekend.