Women’s March on the Utah State Capitol: What’s next?

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At least 3.3 million people attended Women’s Marches around the U.S. after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, according to data collected by Erica Chenoweth at the University of Denver and Jeremy Pressman at the University of Connecticut.

These marches included one in Park City, Utah on Saturday, Jan. 21 and one at the Utah State Capitol on Monday, Jan. 23.

Now that the marches are over, what’s next?

Marchers offered their advice on what individuals can do to further the goals of the marches.

Become educated on the issues and politics
Marriage, family and human development student Ashley LeBaron suggested fellow BYU students become educated, spread awareness of issues and fight for societal change.

LeBaron, who participated in the Women’s March on the Utah State Capitol, said she learned of the inequality others experience after taking a class on feminism and critical race theory. She resolved to educate herself on the experiences of others by seeing things from others’ perspectives and not just through her own eyes.

“In becoming more informed about inequalities and by trying to put myself in others’ shoes, I became much more compassionate and understanding,” LeBaron said.

Savannah Kroff, a BYU graduate student in marriage, family and human development, said it’s important to advance women’s rights through local involvement.

“We need to be informed about and involved in our local government,” Kroff said. “We need to attend meetings where important topics are discussed.”

Kroff, who also participated in the Women’s March on the Utah State Capitol, referenced a meeting held by the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault as an example of these educational meetings. Event attendees learned how the legislature works and how to advocate for public policies addressing sexual violence.

“Events like these are just as important as events like the march,” Kroff said.

(Steve Griffin/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)
Thousands of people attend a women’s march and rally at the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City on Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. (Steve Griffin/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)

Get involved in politics
Women’s March on the Salt Lake City Capitol organizer Noor Ul-Hasan said the next step after the Women’s March is to follow up with politicians on the issues a person is passionate about.

Women make up half of the population, but only hold a small percentage of political offices in Utah. Advocates can engage in politics by running for office, lobbying for bills and learning about the issues, Ul-Hasan said.

“Women need to follow the bills that they are passionate about, in addition to bills that restrict women like equal pay,” Ul-Hasan said. “They need to let their legislators know they are watching how they are voting on these bills and will remember this at re-election time in two years and four years. Women need to commit to making this change happen.”

There are several women’s organizations in Utah people can connect with to follow up with legislators and to advocate for causes, including the Utah Women’s Lobby, Women’s Coalition, League of Women’s Voters of Utah and Utah Women Unite.

Participants flooded the Utah State Capitol building during the Women's March. (Photo courtesy of Carol Surveyor, a March organizer.)
Participants flooded the Utah State Capitol building during the Women’s March. (Carol Surveyor)

Contact your legislator
Ul-Hasan suggested marchers reach out to their local legislators.

“How can any legislator know what is needed from his constituents if we don’t speak up and tell them?” Ul-Hasan said. “Go to the capitol, meet him. Let him know how you want him to vote and why on a bill.”

One way an individual can follow up with legislators is to contact them.

Utah residents can email, write a letter to or visit their legislators. The Utah State Legislator’s website helps residents find the contact information of their legislator.

Volunteer with BYU’s Women’s Services and Resources
Kayli Duprest said her involvement in BYU’s Women’s Studies Honors Society events, colloquiums and studies have helped her better understand the disadvantages women face.

“As a result, I have been able to develop a stronger passion for women’s equality in the world,” Duprest said.

Women’s Services, located on the second floor of the Wilkinson Student Center, offers numerous ways for women and men to promote gender equality.

Students can help with Voices of Courage, which raises awareness about assault and encourages bystanders to stop all forms of assault. Colloquium speeches and discussions are open to all students throughout the semester.

Be courageous in sharing your voice

Kroff participated in the Women’s March in Salt Lake City with several other BYU students and friends.

Kroff said many feminists at the march were pro-choice. Her friend, Ashley LeBaron, marched with a sign that said, “I am a Pro-Life Feminist.” Pro-choice individuals complimented, welcomed and praised LeBaron for voicing her concerns.

LeBaron said she can have intelligent and unheated conversations with those whose viewpoints oppose hers.

“The key is to come from a position of wanting to understand and validate their experiences and beliefs instead of immediately dismissing them as wrong,” LeBaron said.

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