Salt Lake City Womxn’s March Honors Missing and Murdered Women


(Photo by Ivana Martinez | Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Ivana Martinez and Natalie Coby


On Jan. 18, 2020 at 9 a.m., women around the greater Salt Lake City area came together to march from Washington Square Park to the Utah Capitol Building to honor the missing and murdered women at the Salt Lake City Womxn’s March. 

The march started at Washington Square Park, where tables were set from Planned Parenthood, the Utah Pride Center, Equal Rights Amendment advocates and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. A group of around 700 people walked to the capitol building, where several speakers were located, while chanting things such as: “This is what democracy looks like” and “women’s rights are human rights.” 

“I think they deserve a voice and I think we can help give it to them,” said 24-year-old University of Utah student Madilynn Froelich, referring to indigenous women. She decided to march in hope for equality and in solidarity with her indigenous friends. 

The Womxn’s March is not affiliated with the National Women’s March, which has faced backlash from critics who claim the march’s feminist advocacy has not been inclusive.  The committee planned the event to be as diverse, inclusive and intersectional as possible. 

The student-led organization is composed of seven U students who undertook the task of planning the march this year after People for Unity leader Colette Raptosh graduated last year. Dieu Hoang, a committee member of the Womxn’s March, decided she’d continue the tradition when she didn’t see anyone else begin to plan the march. 

“We started out with seven broke college kids just kind of banded together and came up with what we have now, which is … huge,” Hoang said. 

 The characterizing “X” in the word “women” is meant to emphasize inclusiveness and “to clarify that [they] are not an extension of men, but [their] individual selves,” the statement on the organization’s Instagram page said. 

They have partnered with organizations such as Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Planned Parenthood Utah, The Rape Recovery Center, Utah Pride Center and Black Lives Matter.

Speakers included Michelle Brown, campaign chair from the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women organization; Britnee Webb, a criminal justice advocate who serves on the board of the Utah Prisoner Advocate Network as the Women’s Issue Director; Jenessa Jimoh, a student from Westminster College studying economics with a pre-law emphasis; Neve Lahy, a student who studies biology and a genderqueer founder of College Democrats of Westminster College; Ermiya Fanaeian, co-founder of March for Our Lives Utah and an appointed member of the Mayor of Salt Lake City’s Gun Violence Prevention Commission; and Lex Scott, founder of the United Front Civil Rights organization and Black Lives Matter Utah. 

Another organization represented at the event was MacKenzie’s Voice, which was created in honor of U student MacKenzie Lueck, who was murdered last summer

“We wanted to raise awareness for the prevention of violence against women,” said Ashley Fine, one of the founders of the organization.

In her speech, Scott talked about the persecution of black women in society, but also highlighted the plights of other marginalized women such as disabled women, indigenous women and trans women.

“Women must find other women that are more marginalized than them and lift them up. White women need to pass the mic,” Scott said. “We have to find ways to unite and support each other. We have to hear each other.”

Brown emphasized the importance of supporting indigenous women within the community. She mentioned the lack of attention to these types of issues in the past years. 

“I urge you not only to keep track of this ongoing issue, I challenge you to dig deeper, discover ways to uplift and support the voices of indigenous women in your community,” Brown said. “We must work together to be free from the injustice that ignorance often creates for too long, the statistics pertaining to murder sexual violence and other statistics about Native Americans.”  


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