On Saturday, January 18, 50 people convened at Ames Park at 11 a.m. for the Women’s March on Northfield. Despite low temperatures and heavy wind chill, the group marched across town with signs and banners, ending at Imminent Brewing for an after-party.
Julie Faulkner, one of the event’s organizers, detailed the preparation that led to the march. She said it was a “late start,” as the original six organizers connected through an online neighborhood group in early January and then met for coffee on January 7.
With the momentum of that coffee shop meeting, the march became the first Northfield-organized Women’s March. It was created in solidarity with the nation-wide Women’s March, which has been held each year since the inauguration of President Trump in January 2017.
The march was advertised through a Facebook event and throughout the Northfield community via flyers, airtime on KYMN and a news press release posted on NorthfieldNews.com.
Faulkner said that she hoped the event would “create energy to keep Northfield excited about causes local-national.” Faulkner also added, “We are marching to create awareness and build a stronger community that works to protect our planet, our rights, future, choices and our Democracy.”
Ruthie Yankwitt ’22, a politically active student on campus and in the Northfield community, was contacted by Northfield City Council Member Clarice Grabau to speak at the march. Yankwitt began her speech on Saturday with a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt: “The way to begin is to begin.”
Reflecting on the march, Yankwitt said, “There are so many things that I’m worried about or upset about or I want to change and it’s kind of hard to decide where to start when every issue matters so much.” She went on to say, “Doing something— doing anything—is so powerful. And even if you aren’t doing one hundred million things, at least you’re doing more than if you’re not doing anything.”
Greta Hardy-Mittell ’23 spoke with The Carletonian before the event, and said that she found out about the march from a flyer posted on campus. As a freshman, Hardy-Mittell has already become politically involved in the area, working on Davin Sokup’s campaign for State Senate along with Yankwitt.
Hardy-Mittell said she was excited about the march, especially because it’s local. She noted, “I think Carls have a lot to say, and I think it would be great to have people involved in town-wide activism.”
Yankwitt, as a full time student working two campaign jobs, spoke about the pressure to be politically engaged. “I think sometimes within the politically active community, there’s this sense of who’s more active?”
She went on to highlight the importance of small-scale local events like the Northfield Women’s March, explaining, “I think the goal of local marches is to get everyone engaged, reminding everyone that we’re here.”
Hardy-Mittell and Yankwitt also spoke about past tensions over inclusion. Hardy-Mittell stated, “I know the movement originally got some backlash afterwards from queer, non-binary idenitifying,and trans communities and so I think it’s tried to be more intersectional. Going forward, I think it’s still a little bit complicated.”
The march also hosted a Prevent Period Poverty drive and collected unused feminine hygiene products before the march, which were later donated to the Community Action Center in Northfield.