(Murray, KY January 21, 2017) - Around 800 showed up to participate in the March for Equality and Social Justice in Murray, one of 600 sister marches to the Women's March in Washington DC.
The March drew from all ages and backgrounds. From youngsters in strollers to oldsters in wheelchairs, marchers carried signs supporting a number of liberal causes. From the environment to women issues, labor and LGBT rights, signs were as numerous and varied as those who carried them.
Marchers assembled at Faculty Hall parking lot on Murray State University campus. By the time the March ended at the Calloway County Courthouse, the morning that began with rain turned to sunshine.
It was fitting weather for participants who began the day under dark clouds of depression by the inauguration of the 45th US president. By the end of the mile long march that spread out over six blocks at a time, marchers were buoyed by the presence of others of like mind.
The March brought out a cornucopia of homemade signs. (see slide show below)
One group of friends, shown left to right, Laura Wood, Karen Nosseri, Deborah Mason and Ruth Harris, of Marion, Kentucky made their own sign from a bedsheet, "Hear Our Voice." Ruth Harris told us that this event was "on our bucket list." Laura Wood, the creator, used an image from a past Women's Day event.
Marchers included a Murray moms play group, described by participant Kaja Low, shown below at right, as "very open, very accepting." Low's four year old son Sitri, left side, designed the sign he carried as he rode with brother, Lucian in a double stroller "Real Men Don't' Hate." Mom pushed.
College students, newly back from Christmas break, also participated. One told us she came to "celebrate our differences."
Environmental activist Dianna Riddick said her three daughters were all participating in Kentucky marches. One in Louisville, one in Lexington.
Dianna and her youngest daughter, Lorelei, shown below left, marched in Murray.
Union members, stinging from defeats in the 2017 Kentucky General Assembly came to march for prevailing wage and for repeal of right to work. (see related story____)
March organizer Peter Murphy in addressing the crowd that filled one quarter of the court square told marchers what they learned in the course of a morning. "You are not alone." Murphy, an MSU professor, confessed that when the march was first conceived that the organizing committee had no idea how many to expect. If it had been four of us, he told the crowd, then four of us would have marched.
Murphy credited Murray resident Mary Jane Littleton with inspiring the day's events. Littleton told him that she had "worked decades to see something like this." Grayer heads listening nodded in agreement.
A heady day in Murray of chants, speeches, tweets and Facebook posts in solidarity with other marches around America ended quietly.
But not before the question on every adult marcher's minds was spoken aloud.
Sister march to DC march day after Trump inauguration.
Several references to "nasty women" decorated signs.
Wheelchair bound participant's sign reads "Save Medicare"
College women with feminist signs
Lots of signs about love and one condemning fracking.
Organizer Sarah Gutwirth read statement of principles during rally following the March.
Organizer MSU prof Peter Murphy "you are not alone"
Professor Clardy spoke at rally in Murray.