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'In numbers, we're powerful': 2018 Bemidji Women’s March set for Saturday

Walkers wait to cross State Highway 197/Paul Bunyan Drive Southeast near the Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox statues during the 2017 Bemidji Women’s March. (Pioneer file photo)

BEMIDJI—A second-annual march for women's quality-of-life issues is scheduled this Saturday.

The 2018 Bemidji Women's March will focus on examining inequalities women face and figuring out ways to improve their lives and, thus, the Bemidji community as a whole, organizers said. It's designed to draw attention to issues like sexual harassment and workplace inequality, plus broader concerns like environmental stewardship, human rights, and access to education and employment.

"I think the bottom line is that we want people to be educated. We want people to express their concerns about their issues, to learn and research and understand their issues," organizer Lynn Fisher said. She also stressed the importance of voting. "Women are a strong voice in these areas, and they just need to speak up and stand up and unite. In numbers, we're powerful."

After last year's inaugural march, Fisher said, she and other marchers got involved in anti-Line 3 protests and started working with the Bemidji chapter of MN 350, an environmentally-minded nonprofit.

About 1,000 people marched last year, Fisher reported. Marchers this year can join at any point along the 2.5 mile trek from the Sanford Center parking lot to Bemidji State University's Beaux Arts Ballroom.

Mayor Rita Albrecht is one of six speakers scheduled to address marchers at BSU, and attendees are encouraged to stay afterward to learn about Minnesota's precinct caucuses. The other scheduled speakers are Nancy Beaulieu, a staff member at MN 350; Arnold Dahl, a business owner in Bena; Elaine Flemming, former Cass Lake mayor and current arts and humanities chair at Leech Lake Tribal College; Mary Fairbanks, an associate professor at BSU's nursing department; and Lila George, a retired clinical social worker at Leech Lake Behavioral Health and a former social work professor at BSU and University of Minnesota Duluth.

Beverages will be provided at BSU, but not food.

If you go:

What: 2018 Bemidji Women's March

When: 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 20

Where: The march begins in the Sanford Center parking lot and ends at BSU's Beaux Arts Ballroom

Info: (218) 766-3915; or (218) 760-9110;

Joe Bowen

Joe Bowen covers education (mostly K-12) and American Indian affairs for the Bemidji Pioneer.

He's from Minneapolis, earned a degree from the College of St. Benedict - St. John's University in 2009, and worked at the Perham Focus near Detroit Lakes and Sun Newspapers in suburban Minneapolis before heading to the Pioneer.

(218) 333-9798