Aaliyah Cropley struck her drum, and songs and footfalls soon followed.
Cropley, 12, was part of the group leading the way down Main Street Saturday at Juneau’s 2020 Women’s March, which began at the Alaska State Capitol before quickly making its way to Centennial Hall.
Her mother, Cassandra Cropley, said they were marching for all missing and murdered indigenous women and one such woman in particular.
“Our cousin is Linda Skeek,” Cassandra Cropley said.
Skeek, a Tlingit woman, has been missing since January 2016, according to the Charley Project, which profiles missing people cases, and is feared dead. In March 2019, Skeek’s husband, Thomas, was found not guilty of first- and second-degree murder. Skeek’s body has not been found.
Cropley wasn’t the only one marching to raise attention of a missing loved one, but more than 100 people walked through the wintry bluster for myriad reasons.
Some wanted to show solidarity with the thousands of women who marched across the U.S. in hundreds of similar events held nationwide. Others wanted to represent a marginalized group, make a political statement or set an example for their children.
While the reasons varied, the women and allies present each had a reason to march.
Here’s what they had to say in their own words.
Reason for marching: “It’s important for me to show my kids what’s important and to raise them to be good people. Most of my life, I do for them.”
Reason for marching: “For all the missing and lost people and to give women voices — especially disabled women.”
Reason for marching: “My daughter (Zakia) is speaking at the event today, and there needs to be some reflection of brown women at the event.”
Reason for marching: “I believe strongly in the feminist movement. I thought it was important to show up with a trans flag and show representation. Trans women are women. They’re being targeted, and we need to do something about that and make sure they’re not being left out of the story.”
Reason for marching: “I think sisterhood is powerful.”
Reason for marching: “Everybody has their own issue that’s super important to them. Events like this, when the community gets together, you get to hear things that aren’t necessarily important to you. I’m here to come to this group and hear what’s important to them.”
Reason for marching: “I love the Women’s March. I love everything it stands for. To come together as a community and make our voices heard and get inspiration from women in our community.”
Reason for marching: “Intersectional feminism and women supporting women and men supporting women and everyone supporting everyone.”
Signs of the times
Many of those at the Women’s March held quippy signs.
Here are three that stood out in the crowd:
• “Little girls with dreams become women with vision”
• “Dunleavy, Trump, Trumleavy, Drump, Trumdun, Dunrump, No matter the spelling it’s all the same [stuff]”
• “Missing but not forgotten”
• Contact reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.