Women’s March draws thousands in downtown Anchorage

Community members gathered outside the Williwaw venue at the end of the Women’s March. (Photo by Rachel Waldholz/Alaska’s Energy Desk)

More than 3,000 people waded through the snow-filled streets to join the Women’s March on Anchorage Saturday morning.

Participants waved signs with slogans like “Love Trumps Hate,” “Equal rights are not special rights” and “A woman’s place is in the Resistance,” which showed an image of Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia. Others wore pink “pussy hats” with cat ears and held signs supporting the rights of women to control their own bodies.

Tahnee Seccareccia, 28, of Anchorage and Dynasti Otis, 29, of Palmer arrived at 10:15 and were still braving the snow an hour and a half later. (Photo by Rachel Waldholz/Alaska’s Energy Desk)

As the crowd listened to speakers before the march began, Sherry Gardiner sat near the back on her walker, snow accumulating on her hat. She said she hasn’t joined a protest march since she spoke out against the Vietnam War 40 years ago, but she couldn’t resist joining this movement.

Sherry Gardiner joined the Women’s March in Anchorage. It was her first march in 40 years. (Hillman/Alaska Public Media)

Gardiner said she thinks the civil liberties of the LGBTQ community and communities of color are being infringed on. “Now it’s gotten so backward from where we came from that I cannot help but do this.”

She encouraged people to speak to their elected officials and stay informed.

Elizabeth Patience and Cheryl Humme traveled to the march from Barrow and carried matching signs. Patience’s read, “I am not protesting,” and Humme’s responded with “Hmm…I am kinda protesting.”

Elizabeth Patience and Cheryl Humme from Utqiagvik joined the march in Anchorage. (Hillman/Alaska Public)

“Some people are dismissing us as angry or sore losers or just here to complain,” Patience said. “I’m not here to do that; to be angry and protest. I’m here to move forward. He’s our president. He has to represent us. And he can’t do that if he can’t hear us.”

Humme said she agrees, but she said, “I see the people he’s appointed to his cabinet, and I see the things he tweets, and I just get so mad.” She said she wants to hold him accountable.

Anchorage resident and marcher Jacqueline Shirley said she plans to move forward by researching ways to change the Electoral College system. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by nearly 3 million.

“To be a good policy writer, that’s my plan,” participant Whitney Flores said. Flores is a social scientist. “Being able to bridge the gap between science and policy. That way we can have good policies that benefit everybody.”

Her husband, Daniel Flores, attended the march wearing a cat suit. He said that as a person who teaches early education, his plan is to instill in children ideas of equality no matter what a person’s background is.

Women’s marches were held in over 15 communities across the state.

Marchers said they came out to show support for a range of issues, from women’s rights to gay rights to support for immigrants or action on climate change. (Photo by Rachel Waldholz/Alaska’s Energy Desk)
Organizers planned to have marchers circle the Delaney Park Strip, but the crowd was so big, people began to forge multiple lines through the snow to keep moving. (Photo by Rachel Waldholz/Alaska’s Energy Desk)