*Editor’s note: Due to the current political climate and protection of sources in the story, The Journal has given some sources alternative names.
At the St. Louis Women’s March on Saturday, Webster student Megan Price could be seen holding a “Jill Schupp for senate” sign, Webster student Kylie holding a “Free Palestine” sign, and a man named John holding a sign with a dead fetus in one hand and a bible in the other.
Multiple marchers surrounded him, trying to take down his sign. They screamed things like “you’re not welcome here,” and “you’re disrupting the message.”
John said he is there to warn others of what God has in store for them.
“If we don’t stop killing our babies, God is going to destroy us,” John said. “[Pro-choice people] are ignorant to the truth.”
John was there to protest people like Webster alum Alison Klinghammer. Klinghammer is a volunteer for National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL) Pro-Choice Missouri. NARAL is an organization committed to fighting for reproductive rights and protecting abortion laws. It is also the organization that put together the march.
Along with Planned Parenthood signs supporting the pro-choice movement, like Klinghammer does, John believes in pro-life, a movement dedicated to go against abortion and its legality. Much like Missouri has a pro-choice organization like NARAL, the state also has an organization for pro-life called Missouri Right to Life. It currently has over 50 members across Missouri.
Klinghammer said the march was made possible in just two weeks and featured over 30 speakers and one stage more than last year.
“A lot of women who are not even in politics have gotten together to say like ‘hey, St. Louis cannot be the only city that does not have a march,’” Klinghammer said. “So we’ve been getting together for hours after work every day and talking at lunch and just kind of pulling this all together.”
Another theme expressed in the march was the idea of getting more women elected, like Jill Schupp, who is running for state senate and was one of the speakers at the march.
Price, a senior economics major, said it is most critical to her that more women get elected in this upcoming year along with getting more women to vote in elections.
“We need to come out to the polls in November just like we come out to marches,” Price said. “If not, bad policy will continue to be proposed.”
Along with Jill Schupp, another speaker at the march was Palestinian-American Sandra Tamari. She spoke on behalf of the issues arising in Palestine regarding the Israeli imprisonment of 16-year-old activist Ahed Tamimi for slapping a soldier. Webster Palestinian-American student Kylie attended the march to protest these issues in Palestine.
“It makes me angry because she’s not the first or last kid to be arrested by Israeli [soldiers].” Kylie said. “No one is free until everyone is free. You can’t be here [at the march] and mention freedom without mentioning the girls and women of Palestine or anywhere else in the Middle East.”
Kylie attended the march for Palestine, but she said if it was not for the ‘Free Ahed’ issue she would not feel included because of the lack of diversity in feminist activism. She said while she was marching she saw a few women of color, but in general she does not feel that all women are included, women from third world countries.
Next to Price stood Webster alum Clara Obernuefemann. Obernuefemann, a white woman, also believes that women of color are not as well represented in feminist movements and it is the job of white women to lift their voices up.
“Marginalized group of women don’t have as much visibility and that is so pivotal in having any kind of change,” Obernuefemann said. “White women as advocates for them we all need to come together at events like the march.”
Among the sea of signs decorated in statements regarding Planned Parenthood, Palestine and Donald Trump, there were also signs with “#MeToo” written on them. Klinghammer said the #MeToo movement, the viral hashtag that took the nation by storm, is a part of what the march is all about.
“The best thing that the #MeToo movement has done has started the conversation on a nationwide basis,” Klinghammer said. “I don’t know if 2018 is going to be the year of woman but I sure hope so.”