On Jan. 19, UMKC sophomore Mahreen Ansari spoke at the Reale Womxn’s Rally in Kansas City.
Ansari, who is the Instagram, photography, videography, and equity lead for the Sunrise Movement KC, spoke about the intersectionality of climate change and its effects on black indigenous women of color.
“Climate change will affect everything around us,” Ansari said, “and will exacerbate all the problems that we have in society right now.”
Ansari also shared her thoughts on UMKC’s inclusivity.
“Be intentional about who you bring into your space,” she said. “Make sure that you’re not trying to fill quotas, that you genuinely want [different kinds of students] in that space.”
The Reale Womxn’s Rally, held at the Mohart Multipurpose Center, was created as a more inclusive alternative to the Women’s March. The key founder of the event, Justice Gatson, organized the rally as a response to the lack of inclusion of women of color in the march.
“I didn’t see the inclusion of trans people and their voices,” Gatson said.
In an interview with The Pitch, Gatson said, “I didn’t see the inclusion of black people, and I didn’t see the inclusion of brown people.”
Gatson is also a representative for the Reale Justice Network, a social justice advocacy group, and the American Civil Liberties Union. She was also a panelist at UMKC’s “Agreeing to Disagree” panel in November last year.
The rally featured other speakers such as Maite Salazar, a progressive candidate for Missouri’s 5th congressional district, currently held by Emanuel Cleaver II. Salazar spoke about what many call “cancel culture,” sharing their personal experience being “cancelled.”
Other speakers included Faith Matthews-Cousineau from the EQUAL Trans Support Group, Yazmin Valdez from the Kansas Missouri Dream Alliance and Hakima Payne, the executive director of Uzazi Village.
Many UMKC students attended the rally, including junior Michelle Lawson.
“It was a really great time,” Lawson said. “I was able to hear a bunch of different ideas all coming together, which is important in this climate.”