St. Louis marches for human rights

Local women’s march echoes demonstrations across the country

Originally published in the Lindenwood ‘Legacy’ newspaper, Jan. 24, 2017

Photo from Lacie Jett-Ricketts | Protesters march on Market Street in St. Louis toward Luther Ely Smith Square as part of the Women’s March on St. Louis Saturday morning.

Members of Lindenwood’s Gay/Straight Alliance walked with over 10,000 people downtown for the Women’s March on St. Louis.

Marches sprang up in major cities all over the country on Saturday in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington in Washington D.C.

The marches happened the day following the inauguration of President Donald Trump. According to the Women’s March on Washington official website, their purpose is to “send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights.”

Lacie Jett-Ricketts, a member of Lindenwood’s GSA officer board and the Pride St. Charles advisory board, said that she marched in St. Louis to support her community.

“I marched in solidarity with the Women’s March on D.C.,” said Jett-Ricketts. “With me being in the LGBT community, I felt I needed to be there to support and represent who I am and what I’m there for.”

Three members of the Lindenwood GSA board were involved in a car accident the night before the march. GSA Secretary Alison Smith, Vice President Brooke Parker and President Kelsey Smith were driving on Zumbehl Road after getting supplies for T-shirts and signs from Wal-Mart.

They were sideswept by a driver while they were waiting at a red light.

All three of them were in the emergency room until 1:30 a.m. Saturday. As a result, Kelsey Smith had a concussion, Parker had a torn bicep and Alison Smith had back complications.

All three of them marched a few hours later.

“We still dyed our hair and still had shirts to finish,” said Kelsey Smith. “I didn’t go to bed until 4 a.m. Then we got up at 6 a.m. to go to the march.”

Alison Smith said that she watches the news and all she hears is “hate for people like me and people I love.”

Her mindset was changed after participating in the march.

“On Saturday I was one person among thousands who are like me and who do not want to see this country lose its progress,” she said.

Regardless of the long night and injuries sustained, the three were proud to march that morning.

“I’m gay, and I’m a woman,” said Parker. “It was a personal statement; I was doing something for myself and for future generations to come.”