After Women’s March, Metro Detroiters ‘ready to fight’

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

Hundreds of people who packed the Atwater Brewery on Thursday evening simultaneously shouted their intentions for the next four years: “Ready to fight!”

The diverse, energetic crowd of activists, community organizers and residents gathered for the “Postcards and Pints” event at two venues near the Detroit riverfront, seeking to spark political action as a new presidential administration stirs fears about civil rights violations and other issues.

The large number of supporters at the nightspot and nearby Andrew’s on the Corner illustrates how President Donald Trump’s executive orders on immigration and other controversial issues galvanize many Americans, said Laura DePalma, one of the event organizers.

“That’s how much momentum is going on in this country,” she said to applause.

Building on the successful Women’s March in Washington, D.C., last weekend, four Metro Detroit women inspired by its associated “10 Actions/100 Days” campaign quickly coordinated the gathering.

The first action that national organizers outlined in the initiative is to contact a U.S. senator, by phone or in writing, and detail specific concerns.

With concerns about the new administration in mind, dozens of attendees assembled at Atwater Brewery to design, write and send postcards to political representatives.

As worries grow about perceived attacks on the rights of women, minorities and the LGBTQ community, uniting and speaking out is crucial, state Rep. Stephanie Chang told the audience.

“This is a long struggle,” she said. “Change does not happen overnight.”

Translating anger into action counters apathy as the president pursues more measures, said Denzel McCampbell, a social justice organizer with Engage Michigan.

“We shouldn’t look away from that because when we look away, we normalize it,” he said. “We’re here to fight against that.”

That inspired Lauren O’Reilly of Ferndale to join in. Buoyed by participating in a sister women’s march Saturday in the Motor City, she hoped the interest in such activism advances a movement.

“It’s to keep the momentum going,” she said. “Any little bit helps. We all need to do our part. It shows we are united.”