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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Third annual Women's March attracts participants in Houghton, DC and beyond

By Michele Bourdieu

Participants in the third annual Women's March in Houghton head up the hill to Shelden Ave. to begin their march across the Portage Lift Bridge to Hancock on Jan. 19, 2019. (Photo © and courtesy Jim Belote)

HOUGHTON -- Despite very cold weather on Saturday, Jan. 19, a group of hardy participants marched from Houghton to Hancock and back in the third annual local Women's March, a sister march to #WomensWave -- the 2019 Women’s March in Washington, DC. The Houghton march was one of more than 200 sister marches across the country, with dozens more around the world.

Organizer Susan Burack of Hancock spoke to the group as they gathered to begin the march on the Houghton side of the Portage Lift Bridge.

Susan Burack addresses the marchers gathered at Bridgeview Park in Houghton before the march begins. At left, assisting with the megaphone, is Valorie Troesch of Dollar Bay. (Photo © and courtesy Horst Schmidt)

"I spoke about the power of women to create change, that we celebrate the election of women, together we're stronger, and that it is important to make a statement locally," Burack said.  "Be the change, Get involved, Make a difference!"

Valorie Troesch, who has helped organize previous marches and participated again in this year's march, said she was glad to see people of younger generations joining the march.

Marchers display their signs as they cross the Portage Lift Bridge. (Photo © and courtesy Jim Belote)

"One of the signs I saw at the Women's March stated, 'The future is female,'" Troesch noted. "I agree but would add that the future is also young. I often read that the Millennials and Generation Z'ers are far more progressive than older generations. The problem is that they are not as engaged and they do not vote in the same percentages as their older counterparts. Unless that changes, they will have little impact. Of all the marches I've participated in over the past two years, the Women's March is the only one that attracts a broad diversity of participants, including young voters. This tells us that the women's movement embraces issues that attract and engage younger generations. Keeping these people active and motivating them to vote based on their values and convictions is our challenge as we move forward."

Members of the Keweenaw Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (KUUF) came out in full force for the Women's March. KUUF members pictured here, from left, are Janeen Stephenson, Miriam Pickens, Carol and Pete Ekstrom, Barry Fink and Paul Mitchell. (Photo © and courtesy Horst Schmidt)

Horst Schmidt of Tamarack City, community volunteer, said Jan. 19 was a cold, windless day that made for a safe march for him and others.

Participants in the Jan. 19 Women's March head across the Portage Lift Bridge. (Photo © and courtesy Jim Belote)

"The marchers, men and women alike, were in high spirits as they gathered in Bridgeview Park," Schmidt said. "At one o' clock, the group started towards the bridge where they crossed the Keweenaw Waterway to Hancock and then returned. Marchers were carrying signs, waving at drivers who honked their horns in support. People were talking with one another during the walk -- which reflects our community spirit. It's good to see our leaders, young and old, letting the president know his behavior is unacceptable and his decisions are also dangerous and irresponsible to the public in many ways."

Linda Zimmer of L'Anse displays a sign with her opinion of the president. (Photo © and courtesy Horst Schmidt)

Marika Seigel, community member, said, "I am energized to know that there is a large group of people in this community who have hope for a better, more inclusive, future and who stand against the divisive and damaging policies of this administration."

The Rev. Bucky Beach, pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Houghton, chats with fellow marchers. (Photo © and courtesy Horst Schmidt)

Linda Belote, whose husband, Jim Belote, shared his photos of the event for this article, also commented on the friendliness of the marchers.

"Everyone who marched was so warm-hearted we didn't even notice it was only 9 degrees out there," Linda said.

Women's March in DC

A scene from #WomensWave -- the Jan. 19, 2019, Women's March in Washington, DC. In the background is the Trump International Hotel, formerly a historic Post Office building. (Photo © Jesse Johnston and courtesy Emily Newhouse)

Emily Newhouse of Calumet -- who was visiting her son Jesse Johnston and son-in-law, Ricky Punzalan, in Washington, DC -- attended the Jan. 19, 2019, DC Women's March, #WomensWave.

"It was heartening to see so many people using their right to express their views and opinions," Newhouse said of the third annual Women's March in the nation's capital.

Newhouse had previously participated in the Copper Country Women's Marches in 2017 and 2018. She noted she appreciated these local sister marches as opportunities not only for seeing friends she hadn't seen for a while but also for local networking and organizing.

The DC Women's March this year has published The Women’s Agenda, which lays out the priorities of the organization for the next two years and serves as a roadmap for the work ahead. The platform includes: passing the Equal Rights Amendment, universal healthcare/Medicare for All, investing in independent living and autonomy for women with disabilities, expanding the Violence Against Women Act to include Native women, democracy reforms that include voting rights and campaign finance reform, the decriminalization of sex work, passing the Equality Act, reducing racial health disparities in maternal health, and repealing the Hyde Amendment. The full Women’s Agenda can be found here:

Editor's Note: For a report, with photos, on this year's Women's Marches in DC, across the U.S. and around the world, see "'Represent us!': Women's March returns amid controversy over anti-Semitism" in USA Today.