Alma Messing, 5, raises her fist during a women’s march and rally held Saturday, Oct. 17 in Juneau. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Alma Messing, 5, raises her fist during a women’s march and rally held Saturday, Oct. 17 in Juneau. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Juneau joins in nationwide rallies

“Women vote, so count on us.”

This article has been updated to include additional information.

Juneau joined in on the nationwide rallies and protests Saturday with a women’s march from the Alaska State Capitol to Mayor Bill Overstreet Park.

What began as a late push to express solidarity with national events organized to encourage voting in the Nov. 3 election and show opposition to Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett wound up attracting about 50 participants, including a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives.

“I was really surprised,” said Jeni Brown, who helped organize the event, and said she would have been pleased with any turnout.

Marchers make their way toward Mayor Bill Overstreet Park on Saturday, Oct. 17. The march and rally were part of events held nationwide. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Marchers make their way toward Mayor Bill Overstreet Park on Saturday, Oct. 17. The march and rally were part of events held nationwide. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Jenny Smith, who has organized past women’s marches in Juneau and was a co-organizer of Saturday’s events, said she and other protesters were marching for gender, racial and economic justice.

“Women vote, so count on us,” Smith said. “We’re offended by the administration trying to slam dunk a replacement for Ruth Bader Ginsburg.”

Ginsburg’s death in September led to debate over whether it is proper for the president to nominate someone to the nation’s highest court, or for the Senate to confirm a nominee, weeks before a presidential election. In 2016, the Senate did not hold a confirmation hearing for then-President Barack Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland.

However, this past week, hearings were held for Barrett, and a committee vote and vote by the full Senate are expected in the coming weeks.

[Eyes turn to Alaska’s senators amid Supreme Court vacancy]

Based on the signs people carried, there did not appear to be much, if any, division, on the matter in the ranks of the marchers.

“They can wait,” Smith said of confirming a Supreme Court nominee. “They waited before.”

During the march itself, marchers did not appear to maintain social distancing, but it appeared all attendees over the age of 2 wore masks and other precautions were taken in light of climbing COVID-19 case counts in the city and state.

Gloves, sanitizing wipes and more were available to marchers who stopped near the Capitol to make signs before the march and rally. Plus, Smith said voicing dissent was a matter worth gathering for.

“It’s so important,” she said. “We have to stand up for our rights.”

[See more photos from the event here]

The rally, held near the whale statue in Overstreet Park, featured remarks from state Rep. Sara Hannan; a statement from the Alaska Chapter of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two Spirit read with passion by Yolanda Fulmer.

“Iñuuruŋa savaktuŋalu Dena’ina-t nunaŋanni Kisaġvigmun. ‘I live and work on the land of the Dena’ina in Anchorage,’” the statement began. “I was asked to take a minute to share on this topic. In many ways this is an incredibly complex issue of tangled systems..but the root of MMIWG2S is one — and that is colonization. The same values that steal, extract, and perpetuate violence and toxins against our lands and waters are the same ones used against our bodies.

“These are the same value systems and beliefs that we go up against in seeking justice for our loved onesm,” the statement continued. “So each and everyday we fight for decolonization and the break down of oppressive systems. We grow our movement stronger through people power and solidarity. Collectively, we create healing spaces for our families. Collectively, we demand elected officials to answer to the people. We reclaim data. And we demand police accountability. Today, and every day is a good day to be Indigenous. Because my vision of justice is clear. Justice is Indigenous. Justice is the sacred feminine. Justice is land back. Justice is solidarity.”

The march and rally also attracted U.S. House of Representatives candidate Alyse Galvin, who was in town for a campaign event. Her presence was announced when Galvin spoke up to provide the correct time of a drive-in campaign event held later on Saturday.

Alyse Galvin, a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, speaks during a women’s march and rally held Saturday in Juneau. Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Alyse Galvin, a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, speaks during a women’s march and rally held Saturday in Juneau. Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

“I wouldn’t miss a moment of sisterhood for anything,” Galvin said.

Shared experiences and the ability to affect change were sentiments many of the speakers mentioned.

“We can change things,” Hannan said.

And Brown said she hoped people in attendance noted how many people attended the event.

“We’re not alone,” Brown said. “We can all support each other in this community.”

• Contact Ben Hohenstatt at (907)308-4895 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.

More in News

(Juneau Empire file photo)
Aurora forecast for the week of Feb. 26

These forecasts are courtesy of the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute… Continue reading

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Monday, Feb. 26, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Former state labor commissioner Ed Flanagan, State Rep. Genevieve Mina, D-Anchorage, and the Rev. Michael Burke of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Anchorage wheel boxes of signed petitions into a state Division of Elections office on Jan. 9. The petitions were for a ballot initiative to increase the state’s minimum wage, mandate paid sick leave and ensure that workers are not required to hear employers’ political or religious messages. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
Minimum wage increase, ranked choice repeal have enough signatures to be on ballot

A pair of ballot measures have enough public support to appear on… Continue reading

State senators meet with members of the media at the Alaska State Capitol to discuss education legislation after a press conference by Gov. Mike Dunleavy on the topic on Tuesday. (Mark Sabbatini/Juneau Empire)
Dunleavy threatens veto of education bill if more of his priorities aren’t added

It is not certain there would be the 40 votes necessary to override a veto by the governor

Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire
Nanibaa’ Frommherz, a student at Thunder Mountain High School, testifies about a proposal to help the Juneau School District with its financial crisis during a Juneau Assembly Committee of the Whole meeting Monday night at City Hall. The meeting was moved from the Assembly Chambers to a conference room toward the end due to technical errors that disrupted the live online feed.
Little public reaction to city’s bailout of school district this year, but big questions beyond loom

Only two people testify Monday about proposed $4.1M loan and taking over $3.9 in “shared costs.”

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Mauka Grunenberg looks at live oysters for sale on Aug. 29, 2022, at Sagaya City Market in Anchorage. The oysters came from a farm in Juneau. Oysters, blue mussels and sugar, bull and ribbon kelp are the main products of an Alaska mariculture industry that has expanded greatly in recent years. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska’s mariculture industry expands, with big production increases in recent years, report says

While Alaska’s mariculture industry is small by global standards, production of farmed… Continue reading

U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola (center) walks with Alaska Rep. Will Stapp, R-Fairbanks, and Alaska Sen. Lyman Hoffman, D-Bethel, into the Alaska House of Representatives chambers ahead of her annual address to the Alaska Legislature on Monday. (Mark Sabbatini/Juneau Empire)
Peltola celebrates federal intervention in Albertsons, Kroger merger in legislative address

Congresswoman says wins for Alaska’s fisheries and state’s economy occurring through collaboration.

Sen. Shelley Hughes, R-Palmer, speaks in support of Senate concurrence on a version of an education bill passed by the Alaska House last week during a Senate floor discussion on Monday. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Senate concurs on House education bill, Dunleavy is skeptical

Dunleavy schedules press conference Tuesday afternoon in Anchorage to discuss the legislation.

Most Read