This year, the Women's March in Oklahoma City was held on a Sunday, and the reason provided for that matched the day's theme.

The crowd covering the grounds on the south side of the State Capitol Building was told the change had to do with Jewish women and groups who could not attend the 2017 or 2018 editions because Saturday is the sabbath. So the executive decision to move it was made.

And that wasn't even the most visible way the march followed organizers' goal to #BePurposefullyIntersectional.

"Now, there is such an effort to include indigenous women, trans women, women of color," Jordan Redman, a Norman resident who attended the march, said. "This movement is intersectional. We can't all move forward if we're not all together."

In the third such event since the movement began in 2017 — along with marches across the country and even the world — Native American women's groups were more visible than ever before. Organizers asked the Indigenous groups to lead the actual march around Lincoln Boulevard.

Comanches On the Move, an Indigenous peoples advocacy group based in Lawton, had its banner set up to the side of the gathering area. The acronym for its sub-group Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (M.M.I.W) was on several signs and banners.

"We wanted to come and represent our missing Indigenous women and our Native sisters," Trella Louis, who leads the Comanches group, said. "There is a lot of sex trafficking [of Native women]. So we're trying to raise awareness and let people know we're still here."

Her words were echoed by Olivia "Libbi" Gray, director of the Osage Nation's Family Violence Prevention Department, who was one of the speakers at the march. Gray's advocacy work centers on abused Indigenous women and children, who she says do not receive the justice they deserve from authorities.

"I would ask all of you to use your power," Gray said. "These are our people. We comes from the strongest, the fastest and the smartest. And this has to stop today."

Gray said a major hurdle in the justice system when it comes to Indigenous people is the issue of where one authority's jurisdiction begins and where another's ends. But this should not be an issue, Gray said, because regardless of who the victim is, justice should be enforced.

She asked everyone in the crowd to contact district attorneys, sheriff's offices and judges and demand they protect Native American communities equally.

"I want you to demand that tribal protection orders be enforced," Gray said. "I don't care who gets that perpetrator off of the streets. This is enough."

It's the second year M.M.I.W. has had a presence at the Women's March in Oklahoma City, Louis said. The result has been more exposure for the group and more support.

"I think now, people are listening," Louis said. "We were asked to be the leaders of the march, and that is very exciting. They are honoring us by asking us to do that. People recognize us here."

In the march's third year, Louis wasn't the only one to say she's seen progress from the movement. Redman, who was there with State Rep. Merleyn Bell (D-Norman) and her supporters, pointed to women finding their political voice within the last year as a sign of progress.

"I think there has been tremendous progress," Redman said. "We're seeing women put themselves out there more and run for office, and really fight for their rights."

Norman City Council, for example, passed a resolution in December calling for the state to adopt the Equal Rights Amendment, which codifies gender equality in the U.S. Redman is a local campaigner for LGBTQ rights, and Norman Pride is entering its second parade year.

One of those women encouraged to put herself out there was Leslie Bonebreak, who last year ran against State Rep. Mark McBride (R-Moore). Though she lost that race, Bonebreak said she's considering running for office again.

"It's opening up," Bonebreak said about the march movement. "Women from all different walks of life are staring to find their place and demand to be seen. We're going to keep organizing here until we don't have to."

Those gathered on Sunday still want to see progress when it comes to issues like equal pay, reproductive rights, sexual assault, and overall, the role of women in society. Ayana Nayuma, who was part of the original sit-in movement led by Clara Luper in Oklahoma City, spoke to the crowd about how she is talking about the same issues today.

"I never thought that I'd have to stand here, 60 years later, talking about equality, and having to throw words like racism out and into the trash, and sexism into the trash; again, here in 2019," Nayuma said.

"There ain't no stopping me now. There's a victory that needs to happen in Oklahoma today, in the United States today, and women need to take over the world now. I can't wait another minute."

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