SALT LAKE CITY — A young adult activist group founded just three years ago by a 16-year-old girl turned out hundreds of people Saturday for the 2019 Women's March in downtown Salt Lake City.
People For Unity founder Colette Raptosh told the crowd their work is not done.
"Keep showing up," she shouted.
Raptosh founded People For Unity while a resident of Boise and has since moved to Utah to attend school.
It now has a chapter on campus at the University of Utah.
The march, which started at Washington Square Park at Salt Lake City hall, ended at the Utah State Capitol where several women spoke, including Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski.
Biskupski told the crowd she repeatedly encountered gender discrimination as she campaigned for elected office by people who asked why she wasn't staying home with her son.
The march, she emphasized, is a way for women to speak with one voice.
"We are united and we are strong."
She noted the strides women have made, despite obstacles.
At the Utah Legislature, 25 women now hold seats — the most in history.
"It is not enough," she said, noting that there are more than 100 legislators in Utah. "We must keep going."
The Salt Lake City march coincided with others around the country, including in Washington, D.C., where the inaugural event was held two years ago in a rebuke to President Donald Trump.
Since then the movement has been mired in controversy because its co-president, Tamika Mallory, has ties to the Nation of Islam's Louis Farrakhan, one of the country's leading anti-Semites.
The Women's March has issued statements denouncing anti-Semitism.
Saturday's crowd in Salt Lake City ignored the national controversy and instead engaged in boisterous chants and waved their signs.
"Love, not hate, makes America great," they yelled.
One man held a sign that said, "Men of quality don't fear equality."4 comments on this story
Speaker Jennifer Boyce spoke of the plight of indigenous women around the country who end up missing or murdered — and overlooked.
Boyce, who leads the PANDOS Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women + Relatives Committee, has been working with the Salt Lake City Police Department to bring awareness to the issue and partnering with other native-led organizations.
Martie Goodrich from South Salt Lake braved the weather to participate in Saturday's event.
"I have always been for women's rights. It has improved, but we still have a long ways to go."