Friday, February 03, 2017

Local mothers, daughters, friends inspired by joining Jan. 21 Women's March in D.C.

By Michele Bourdieu

Katie Maki, right in green jacket, and her daughter, Daphne, of Houghton, march together displaying their original signs during the Jan. 21 Women's March in Washington, D.C. Katie's sign quotes from a song Daphne wrote for the march, "Stand Tall," a song of peace and inclusion and love, not hate, while Daphne's sign is about the "pussy hats" worn by participants as a statement of women's solidarity, feminine power and women's rights. The U.S. Capitol building can be seen in the background. (Photo courtesy Katie Maki)*

HOUGHTON -- At the Jan. 21, 2017, Women's March in Washington, D.C., many mothers marched with or on behalf of their daughters. Others marched with sisters, children and friends -- old and new. Thousands wore pink "pussy hats" to show their solidarity. Among them were women -- and men -- from the Copper Country and other parts of the Upper Peninsula, many of whom took a long bus ride from Marquette, making friends with fellow marchers and sharing energy and inspiration.

Katie and Daphne Maki

Katie Maki of Houghton and her daughter, Daphne, 16, who had marched across the Lift Bridge in Houghton for the Save Health Care march on Jan. 15, told Keweenaw Now they would be going to D.C. for the Women's March and promised to share their experience and photos. They traveled with a large group of U.P. marchers -- men, women and children -- by bus from Marquette -- 18 hours each way. Katie said it was a life-changing experience for both of them.

"One of the most powerful chants that we heard during our march was the Women chanting, 'My body my choice,' and the men responding with 'Her body her choice.'" Katie said. "The echoing chants sent chills down my spine and my hair stood up. Along with 'Tell me what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like' and many many others. The energy was palpable. The police and security people were friendly and supportive, some even wearing pink Pussy Project hats."**

Daphne Maki and her sign can be seen in this video clip her mother, Katie Maki, took during the Women's March in Washington, D.C. (Video © and courtesy Katie Maki)

Katie noted the march was characterized by peace and unity.

Marchers walk past the Washington Monument during the Jan. 21 Women’s March in Washington D.C. (Video © and courtesy Katie Maki)

"Everyone was there to support each other and to make it clear that we are WATCHING and we are not going anywhere," she said. "The resistance to Trump and all that he stands for will be omnipresent. We will not stand by and let the Trump administration divide us by race, religion, sexual orientation and identity, or anything else. We are all motivated to keep moving forward with different groups to mobilize and organize into action moving forward to fight for the Earth and all of its people."

Participants  march alongside a giant Earth ball at the Jan. 21 Women’s March in Washington, D.C. (Photo © and courtesy Katie Maki)

Katie said she was impressed that everyone treated her 16-year-old daughter as an equal. The other marchers were an inspiration to both of them, she added.

"We met wonderful people along the journey and bonded with many in their 60s who had protested Vietnam and fought for equality for decades," Katie noted. "The sea of pink hats and the amount of men supporting us at the march was absolutely overwhelming."

Thousands of marchers fill Constitution Ave. at 4 p.m. -- all ages, men and women, all races, all religions. Participants numbered nearly half a million, according to estimates. (Video © and courtesy Katie Maki)

Katie said it was important for her to share the march with her daughter.

Daphne, left, and Katie Maki at the Women's March in D.C. (Photo courtesy Katie Maki)

"I want to teach my daughter that she has a voice," Katie explained. "That she matters. That we all have the power to change minds and move mountains."

Daphne Maki, 16, of Houghton marches with her hand-painted sign in the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. The sign says "Pussy Power" in Russian. The sign represents that all women all over the world have power. (Photo courtesy Katie Maki)**

Daphne Maki said the experience of participating in the march gave her hope for the future.

"Living somewhere where my thoughts and feelings on social issues seem to be a minority, the march gave me so much reassurance that I am definitely not alone and I have hope for the future and my generation," she said.

Beth and Kate Flynn

Elizabeth (Beth) Flynn of Hancock Township joined her daughter, Kate Flynn, in Washington, D.C., for the Jan. 21 Women's March. Kate, a former Keweenaw Now guest writer, is now living and working in D.C. Beth and Kate both shared their photos with Keweenaw Now.

Beth Flynn, Michigan Tech emerita professor of reading and composition, is pictured here with her daughter, Kate Flynn, at the Jan. 21 Women's March in Washington, D.C. (Photo courtesy Elizabeth Flynn)

"The experience was so much more than I expected," Beth said. "People may not be aware that the crowd was so big that there really couldn't be a march. All the space was filled with smiling women, men, girls, babies. I saw an American Indian group, some women in head scarves, women in wheelchairs, women drumming, people chanting and cheering.

Nurses march for women's health and women's lives. (Photo © and courtesy Elizabeth Flynn)

"The experience continues as I read about and see pictures of other marches in other locations including other countries and Seneca Falls, the birthplace of the women's suffrage movement. All of this is juxtaposed against reports about alternate facts, a dystopian inaugural address, and anti-abortion initiatives. I think we are all just going to continue to meet and do what we can to build a kinder, more aware and sensitive culture."***

Signs rise above the heads of the huge crowd at the Women's March in D.C. (Photo © and courtesy Elizabeth Flynn)

Beth also noted that former Secretary of State John Kerry was present at the march.

"Toward the end, maybe 2:30 or 3:00, some space opened up, probably because some people had left by then," she commented. "We marched toward the city for about a half an hour. There were people on bridges cheering us on, in some cases wearing pussy hats."

The U.S. Capitol can be seen in the background in this photo of the crowded marchers. (Photo © and courtesy Elizabeth Flynn)

Kate Flynn noted the march was peaceful in spite of the fact that so many people showed up, preventing the participants from following the original planned route.

Displaying a variety of messages on their signs, marchers walk through the streets near D.C.'s L'Enfant Plaza. (Photo © and courtesy Kate Flynn)

"The march was a great peaceful, intersectional experience that featured a lot of creative homemade signs and positive energy," Kate said. "It seemed like anyone who wanted to air grievances over Donald Trump had showed up, but the focus remained squarely on women's empowerment. It was an amazing experience to share with my mother, who raised me to be a feminist!"

Marchers carry signs and cardboard puppets near the National Mall. (Photo © and courtesy Kate Flynn)

Kate Flynn displays a sign saying, "Women's Rights Are Human Rights." (Photo © and courtesy Aybs Warner. Reprinted with permission.)

Cynthia May Drake, with Kim Green

Local residents Cynthia (Cindy) May Drake and Kim Green also participated in the Women's March in D.C. Although Cindy's daughters did not accompany her, they helped her make her sign. Also, her oldest daughter, a student at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, marched there in a sister march.

Cynthia Drake displays the sign her daughters helped her make for the Women's March in Washington, D.C. Kim Green is just behind her, in pink hat. (Photo © Anne Savage of of Anne Savage Photography. Reprinted with permission.)

"Of all of the signs I saw on Saturday, mine was the most artistic and detailed and many asked me about it or wanted to take a picture of it," Cynthia said. "I was so proud of my girls, helping me create this wonderful sign; and it felt like I carried them with me through it."

Cynthia said her daughters' future was one reason she marched in D.C.

"I dare now to hope for a world we are creating here and now where my three precious daughters do not have to live any longer with fear of being violated simply because they are female gendered," she explained.

Cynthia Drake pauses for a photo with Keweenaw resident Kim Green during the Women's March in D.C. (Photo © Anne Savage of of Anne Savage Photography. Reprinted with permission.)

Cynthia said she described the march in an email to a friend, in part, as follows: "It was a slow, steady pace and everyone was friendly, full of energy and chanting, singing, talking...observing, witnessing.  A sea of humanity of all shapes, sizes, colors, creeds, sexual orientation, ethnicity, etc."

Cynthia also noted she loved seeing families and everyone marching together in this celebration of humanity.

"The most powerful part was again the waves of cheering which would sweep it seems like from a far distance, the echo of sound moving through us all and forward echoing up ahead and back again," she writes. "I will never, as long as I live, forget that sound and vibration in my being."

Kim Green cited the First Amendment as her inspiration for marching: "The First Amendment states: 'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.' This is why I marched in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, January 21st, because I can and believe it my civic duty when these and other rights are threatened, violated, or are being challenged by the Government responsible for upholding said rights."

Carolyn Peterson, René Johnson, Barry Fink

Carolyn (Candy) Peterson of Houghton, René Johnson of Hancock and Barry Fink of Houghton also rode to D.C. on a bus from Marquette.

Carolyn Peterson of Houghton waits with other bus riders in Vienna, MD, where they would board the metro at the end of the Orange Line and head into D.C. for the march. Not pictured but also present here (and pictured in a photo below) is Barry Fink of Houghton. "The march was a fabulous experience," Barry said. "The energy and wonderful spirit of civility and hope was so uplifting." (Photo © and courtesy René Johnson)

"There were four buses from the UP," Carolyn said. "We left from Marquette at 6 a.m. Friday.  Fantastic trip! It was so very positive and warm and inspiring and FUN!!! Haven't felt so energized in years!!!

She was able to connect with other Upper Peninsula marchers -- including Cindy and Dickie Selfe, former Michigan Tech faculty -- thanks to a Yooper sign in the crowd.

A sign in the shape of the U.P. attracts fellow Yoopers during the Women's March. (Photo © and courtesy Cindy Selfe. Reprinted with permission.)

"One of our Yooper marchers, P.J. Besonen, made this sign, which inspired many who recognized the shape of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, to engage us in conversation," Carolyn said. "Two of my favorite moments -- a little boy, on his dad's shoulders, shouting 'What does democracy look like?' and our response, 'This is what democracy looks like!' Second, walking with a young Chinese woman who had been reluctant to join the march until we encouraged her to walk with us, surrounded by people of all colors, chanting 'No hate, no fear -- immigrants are welcome here!' Now....... to put all this loving energy into action in our home communities!"

Carolyn Peterson (center, facing camera) marches with other participants from the U.P. including Barry Fink of Houghton (in foreground with pink hood and beret hat). (Photo courtesy René Johnson)

René Johnson, Finlandia University Servant Leadership director and assistant professor of religion, said she wanted to go to the march as soon as she heard about it.

"I was troubled by the bigotry that the election had inflamed and was unable to tolerate that negative tone being promoted by 'leadership,'" René explained. "My motivation for going was to exude a positive message during negative times. I wanted to promote togetherness, and the unity principles of the march were right in line with what I'd been thinking about."

René Johnson of Hancock wears her message on an original sign during the Women's March in D.C. (Photo © P.J. Besonen of Covington, Mich., and courtesy René Johnson)

René wore a sign that took lyrics from the Pointer Sisters' 1973 song "Yes We Can, Can":

René's message, from a Pointer Sisters' 1973 song, continues on her back. (Photo © P.J. Besonen of Covington, Mich., and courtesy René Johnson)

"And kindness was indeed everywhere," René continued. "Participating in the march in D.C. was an encouragement to me, restoring my hope in humanity; this was the most diverse group of people (in age, gender, race, religion....), the largest mob, and the most positive energy I have ever been around. I had the privilege of going to D.C. to take part in a historic event. Now I must buckle down and be a part of history by committing to the hard work ahead to 'make this land a better land than the world in which we live.'"


* Click here to watch and listen to Daphne Maki's song for the Women's March, "Stand Tall."

** Click here to learn about the Pussy Hat Project to demonstrate sister solidarity and support for women's rights.

*** See also our Jan. 26, 2017, article on the Sister March in Houghton: "Copper Country Sister March participants -- 500 strong -- demonstrate solidarity with Jan. 21 Women's March in D.C. and beyond."


Evan Dixon said...

Thank you, Michelle. This was really an encouraging read. (And thank you to those that made the trek to D.C. Your passion nourishes us all.)

Keweenaw Now said...

Thanks for your comment, Evan!