In third year, event linked with MLK Jr. Day observation
While traversing slick streets and sidewalks, local men and women walked softly and carried big signs in Broomfield.
Wording on those poster boards ranged from quotes commonly attributed to Martin Luther King Jr. such as “Our lives begin to end the day we became silent about things that matter,” to “She persisted, so will we!” — slogans surrounded by names of influential women including Malala Yousafzai and Rosa Parks.
More than 100 people from across the area, including Louisville, Arvada, Westminster and predominately Broomfield, slowly congregated at the Broomfield Amphitheater for a walk around the pond and the blocks beyond at this year’s Broomfield Women’s March.
Theinaugural Broomfield’s women’s march in 2017 drew an unexpected crowd of about 250 people; last year it swelled to around 500.
“We’re small, but we’re mighty,” Broomfield resident Wendy Fiedler said as people continued to join the crowd. “And it’s a nicer day than it was yesterday.”
Fiedler, who launched Broomfield’s march in 2017 and continues to help organize, suspected the icy walkways kept some people away, specifically older people and those with disabilities.
“I’d like to extend a message — we care about them and we’ll see them next year,” she said.
Saturday’s event did attract younger faces, including the featured speaker Broomfield High School senior Riley Judd.
Judd invoked the teachings of Martin Luther King Jr. and talked about a torch that has been carried for generations and was ignited “by the idea of equality, freedom, safety, justice, respect and opportunity for all.
“We dream with the same determination, strength and the spirit that Martin Luther King Jr. did,” she said, “And now we march.”
Maureen Carlson, of Westminster, usually goes to Denver for the Women’s March, but decided to stay closer to home so she could participate with a friend whose husband is recovering from surgery.
“That’s what women do,” she said about supporting one another. “We’re solid.”
She and her friends donned red dresses and white bonnets, reminiscent of the characters in “The Handmaid’s Tale,” to symbolize what they say is a frightening parallel to today’s climate.
While watching episodes of the dystopian tale, Carlson said she felt “goosebumps” watching certain scenes that felt like a reflection of today’s society.
Carlson said she cares about female empowerment and diversity in the workplace and in leadership roles. As a teacher for nearly 30 years, she sees it as a major issue that needs to be addressed.
“I’m proud to be part of a movement where women can be heard,” she said.
Annie Lessem, who has planned an MLK Day March the past two years, joined forces with the organizers of the women’s march. She said it just made sense to combine the two since both movements call for “equality, civil liberties and civil rights.”
After the march, people passed around a microphone to share what they want to see achieved in the world.
Joette Keowen, mother of scheduled speaker Jennifer Keowen, was one of the more than half a dozen people who shared why they came to the march. Her daughter is someone who was crushed when Beto O’Rourke lost his bid for a Senate seat in Texas and is a support of Black Lives Matter.
Keowen, who came to speak on behalf of Jennifer, who decided not to attend, talked about how her book club this year is studying how to get people active and effect change.
“We need to encourage young people to get involved,” she said. “That’s the only way this is going to turn around.”
Several Broomfield city council members also took up the microphone to talk about reasons they decided to run, what they’ve helped achieve in office and as a reminder to consider a candidates values when voting this November in the municipal election.
Organizers asked that no one use cruel or vulgar language since the event is intended to be family-friendly. Speakers stayed civil, but were certainly critical of the current presidential administration.
In her comments, Judd touched on policy decisions and quoted the words of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in talking about the Statue of Liberty not being replaced by a 30-foot wall.
“There is nothing — not a wall, not a policy, not a president — that can stand in our way,” she said. “Our message is louder and our movement is stronger than ever. We unite, we resist, we take action, we vote.”