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Aerie: 100,000 hearts, 200,000 shoes and a city full of hope

The Women's March on Washington — Minnesota held on Saturday, Jan. 21, drew people in numbers close to 100,000 to the streets outside the state Capitol. (photo by Hannah Coyle)

By Hannah Coyle

Aerie staff writer

Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017, marked a day that will go down in history, where women, men and others alike joined together to march for women's equality and respect. St. Paul authorities truly underestimated the turnout for the Women's March on Washington — Minnesota and from 9 a.m .to 3 p.m. people from all walks of life flooded the streets outside the state Capitol, resulting in numbers close to 100,000.

Through the damp, chilly, 37 degree weather, the warmth of everyone's souls fueled the fire that kept the excitement at a remarkable level.

Arriving an hour before the march was scheduled to begin, thousands of people beyond the anticipated 20,000 had already gathered and covered the St. Paul College parking lot. Chatter of love and respect could be heard as well as anticipation and excitement seen.

Half an hour before the march began, a speaker pumped up the crowed, and although not everything she said was heard, the marchers chanted along, "we are majority, we want equality."

And the march — one out of 673 sister marches worldwide to the one in Washington, D.C. — began at 11 a.m. To get from one end of the parking lot to the other took 45 minutes, but this gave everyone time to read the signs marchers had created. They read "Men of quality respect women's equality," "Girls just want to have fun-damental human rights," "You can't comb over sexism," "Here's to strong women — may we raise them, know them, be them," "There's more IQ in my kitchen cabinet" and countless more.

This march not only produced outspoken opinions and new voices but also a new fashion trend: the "Pussy Hat." The idea for the hat was in response to Donald Trump's inappropriate comments and actions. The marchers thought it was only fitting to wear pink hats, knitted, sewn or crocheted by marchers, friends, and family in such a way, to make them appear to have ears, like those of a pussy cats.

As marchers closed in on the state Capitol, all that could be seen was a sea of people, signs and pink hats. Speakers, including state Rep. llhan Omar, U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, state Sen. Patricia Torres Ray and adventurer Ann Bancroft inspired the crowd to continue their protest, believe in the change they are creating, and to have hope for the future.

K. Raydio, Prairie Fire Lady Choir, and many other talented individuals performed for the crowd outside. As marchers started to file out, they left behind what many said they hoped will be a monumental footprint of the passion, hope and love that drove these humans to fight and bring attention to matters far bigger than one man.