Supporters March For Women’s Equality

Melanie Mackey (left center) helped to organize the march around the square in Oskaloosa on Saturday to tie in with a bigger rally taking place on the state capitol grounds.

Melanie Mackey (left center) helped to organize the march around the square in Oskaloosa on Saturday to tie in with a bigger rally taking place on the state capitol grounds.

Oskaloosa, Iowa – Making themselves heard and seen, at home and around the nation, concerned individuals marched for women’s rights around the square on Saturday morning.

The march was a way to share their desire to advance equality in the workplace and to help level the political playing field.

Local organizer Melanie Mackey sat inside Smokey Row Coffee in advance of the planned march. Her warm cup of coffee and the warm sun had her upbeat about what the day had in store for her and the march.

Mackey attended the women’s march last year after a personal crossroads in her career, in which she says her gender played a role. “I was looking for inspiration. I was looking to be constructively angry. That’s something a lot of my friends and I use. It’s easy to be angry about things, but it’s good to put that somewhere where we can try and make a change and make people feel less alone.”

“So I went to that [Women’s March] last year, and it was very inspiring. Very empowering experience” said Mackey, who wanted to help get more people involved.

After the Women’s March, Mackey started a group called Progressive Oskaloosa. The group visited public forums, and helped each other become “more informed and empowered and involved as a citizen.”

Mackey said the group took a short hiatus. The group recently started chatting about how to once again become more involved, “we have work to do still.”

The group met to decide their path going forward, deciding on the march in Oskaloosa as a first step before departing for the rally in Des Moines.

The past year has seen a rise in women’s rights and workplace sexual misconduct awareness, highlighted by the #metoo movement, “which I thought was amazing,” said Mackey. “I think a lot of women in a cultural sense have had to hold themselves back a little bit. They don’t deny the things that have happened to them, but they know better than to ruffle feathers by speaking up, whether it’s being denied opportunity, safety, employment, any of that because they are women.”

“I thought it was powerful. I felt a lot more comfortable speaking with other women about things that I’ve been through. You hold that in your heart and you hold that in yourself, and you use it as an excuse to hold you back or an excuse to not speak up the next time it happens, and you let that happen to other people,” said Mackey.

“I thought it was an amazing way to show everyone that this does happen everywhere,” said Mackey. “I think a lot of people were really surprised. A lot of people were not, myself included.”

Mackey said her hopes from the day’s march is to help keep everyone involved, “I think there’s a lot of work to do still. I think there’s a lot of conversations that need to happen.”

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Posted by on Jan 21 2018. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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