UMN students gather at Coffman Union for local ‘Day Without Women’ rally

Around 50 students from the University of Minnesota and nearby colleges joined the rally.

A student speaks to the crowd outside of Coffman Memorial Union during the Student Day of Action for International Women's Day on Wednesday, March 8, 2017.

Carter Jones

A student speaks to the crowd outside of Coffman Memorial Union during the Student Day of Action for International Women’s Day on Wednesday, March 8, 2017.

Bella Dally-Steele

Around 50 students from Twin Cities colleges gathered in front of Coffman Union Wednesday for a daylong, nationwide strike, called “A Day Without Women.”

The strike, which coincided with International Women’s Day, was aimed at levying resistance against President Donald Trump’s administration by skipping work and refusing to spend money. The protest was also centered on calls for equity and justice for women.

On campus, members of the University of Minnesota’s Socialist Students group — who planned the rally — led the crowd in various chants and held a moment of silence for seven transgender women killed in 2017.

The rally included student groups like the University’s Women for Political Change and Augsburg College’s Students for Racial Justice, with speakers focusing on the importance of intersectionality.

The demonstration began at 1 p.m. and ended at 2 — an hour earlier than planned due to cold weather. The crowd of protestors gathered to chant and listen to speeches and slam poetry performances.

Between speeches, Student Socialists member Robin Wonsley led the crowd in a chant “Women’s lives matter, black lives matter, [transgender] lives matter, native lives matter, disabled lives matter.”

“I think it’s exciting … this being our first layer of student organizing around socialism. I think it was a great action,” Wonsley said of the rally.

Harper Ciha — a member of Feminist Student Activist Collective — emphasized the importance of transgender voices in future rallies, and activist Sasha Suarez spoke on issues that disproportionately affect American Indian women.

Wonsley and Suarez said although the rally was cut short, they were pleased with the performances and student turnout.

Wonsley said the group hopes to encourage students to take action beyond marches and rallies, and concluded the rally by advising protestors to attend more rallies, but to do more than “take selfies.”