Local residents go to Madison
By Holly Neumann
On Jan. 21, over 75,000 people took to the streets of Madison for the Women’s March, walking from the Library Mall to the Capitol Building. Among them was Tammie Jo Berg, of Iola, and Jane Marx, of Scandinavia.
“I first heard about the Women’s March that was happening in Washington, D.C., from a friend” said Berg. “I was a little apprehensive, because I thought it was just something to protest against President Trump. I thought that was futile and I did not really want any part of that.”
Berg herself had strong feelings about standing up “against” something, because it’s negative energy.
But, after researching the event on-line, and finding out that their mission was to stand together in solidarity for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health and our families, the two women decided to take part.
“If I can stand ‘with’ somebody for something, it puts a more positive spin on things; that was important to me,” she said.
According to both Marx and Berg, men, women and children of all ages marched for a variety of causes from health care, to inclusion and even public education.
“It was the most peaceful, calm group of people that you could imagine,” said Marx. “I was in awe by the number of people that came together for this.”
Participants carried signs and did chants as they made their way to the capitol.
One chant that stood out to them was, “What does democracy look like, this is what democracy looks like.”
“There we were in the middle of it all,” said Berg. “We were supporting each other, shoulder to shoulder.”
“Having a voice is a big part of it,” added Marx, “and realizing that your voice is more than a vote.”
Marx said that we all have a responsibility as citizens to vote, but our responsibility should not end there.
“If we have concerns about issues, or people or things that are happening, we have the right and responsibility to speak up,” she said.
One of her reasons for marching was public education.
“Where does our state and federal government seem to be going in terms of public education,” questioned Marx. “Public education is the corner stone of democracy. Expanding vouchers and charter schools I don’t think is the answer.”
“If you don’t have public education, you will only have private education,” added Berg. “And that will only be for people that can afford it.”
For Berg, it was more about inclusion.
“I am sorry, but I just don’t see the differences,” she said. “We are all the same and should be treated equally. We need to recognize that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.”
Although both women have received positive feedback from participating in the march, they also know that there are people out there that were against it.
“I cannot grasp why people are against it,” said Berg.
“I just don’t understand that,” said Marx. “It’s a basic freedom, look at the Bill of Rights.”
Both are quick to point out that they do respect the office of the president.
“For me this is all about inclusion,” said Berg.
“For me it was a chance to be with people and support them,” added Marx.
Marx recalled a young child carrying a sign that read, “I am seven years old, this is my future, be kind.”
“The message that I would like her to take away from this is to never be afraid to stand up for what you believe in,” she said.
The women agree that there is still more that needs to be done.
“It was great to be a part of what is believed to have been one of the largest gatherings worldwide,” said Berg. “It’s just a good feeling.”
“It’s the people that show up that make a difference,” said Marx. “And if it makes a difference in our own minds and own hearts, then yes we made a difference.”