Susanne Skyrm, a retired music department professor, and Caitlin Collier, an attorney, are gearing up for the march they’ve organized for Jan. 21.
This march follows suit with the march planned in Washington D.C., which more than 200,000 people are expected to join in. Sister marches are expected in cities and towns nationwide. Some will even participate in solidarity in places like Tokyo, Athens, Singapore and Cape Town.
“The organizers in Washington have made it pretty clear that this is not a protest march as such,” Skyrm said. “We are not protesting. It is a march in solidarity, unity, hope, love and all those good things.”
Collier noted that this is not just about women, but all that is at stake with a Trump presidency.
“The organizers of this march did want to send a message right after the inauguration to show that there are a lot of people who care about the issues,” Collier said. “That’s what motivated us. I personally am concerned on so many different levels.”
The women’s studies department at USD has organized buses and signs for those who wish to join the march in Sioux Falls. Collier said she’s content knowing that students are willing to join in solidarity, whether in Sioux Falls or Vermillion.
“We are overjoyed if people go to a march,” she said.
Both organizers have been putting together hats, signs and other materials needed to get the point across.
“I am knitting like crazy,” Collier said. “One of my friends who knits, she’s been working on the pussyhats. I know there are other people who are. If people wear pink hats, which even though it isn’t a protest, it obviously is a statement about one of Mr. Trump’s statements regarding women.”
Even people who grew up in the Vermillion community and heard about the march through social media are lending a helping hand.
Vermillion natives who saw the Facebook event are also showing their support by donating supplies, Collier said.
“I was just really struck by that,” she said. “People who can’t make it because they have conflicts of scheduling have been knitting hats, making signs, posting into the Internet sphere. We may be organizing it, but we are not alone and we have a lot of support in getting this done.”
Skyrm and Collier are expecting more than 100 people to make it Saturday.
“There will probably be more than that,” Collier said. “We’d love to see 150. Anything beyond that would be fantastic. We are certainly one of the smaller sister marches. We would be very happy with a good turnout to show that small towns and rural America are still here and still support things and we want our voices heard.”
Marchers will meet at the United Church of Christ on Main Street at 12:30 p.m. and march from the corner of Dakota and Main to the courthouse.
“We hope college students will come out,” Collier said. “If they’d like to do a second march when the weather gets warmer, we’d be all for that.”