The Goshen courthouse lawn was unexpectedly empty last Saturday, Oct. 17 as the women’s march, organized by Amanda Qualls, was moved to a virtual gathering.

Due to a surge in COVID-19 cases in Elkhart County, the event was moved online and streamed live on Facebook.

Qualls was joined by Regina Shands Stoltzfus, professor of peace, justice and conflict studies at GC; Julia King, Goshen city council member; and Erin Floyd, educator and community activist. The four women shared personal stories and experiences of strong women in their lives, signs of hope that they are seeing and the importance of this upcoming presidential election.

On the same Saturday, a larger women’s march took place in Washington, D.C., sparked by the passing of justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg and a new nominee being fast tracked for confirmation in her place. 

Since 2017, following the election of President Donald Trump, women’s marches have become organized on a nationwide scale. All marches seek to promote reproductive, civil and human rights for women. 

Qualls, a candidate for the Indiana House of Representatives in District 49, wanted to help bring this event to Goshen and felt it was the right time to do so. 

In her opening statements at the virtual gathering, Qualls shared what she hoped the women’s march would mean to others. 

“This event is meant to mobilize women, to offer hope, to offer encouragement, to help you activate yourself and your friends to get out to the polls and be active in your communities,” she said.

The three other speakers shared a similar sentiment.

Stoltzfus told stories of her mother, who moved from the South to Ohio in the 1950s looking for better opportunities. Stoltzfus credits her involvement in community engagement to her mother. 

“[I] owe a tremendous debt to women who work to make the world a better place in all kinds of ways, big and small,” she said. 

Through stories her mother has told, Stoltzfus recognizes that the difficult time we are living in today has been experienced before and that there are real ways change can be made. 

“I’m reminded in these perilous times, we have lived through this before. We need to remember that our communities need all of us, our voices and our presence,” Stoltzfus said. “So let’s keep showing up.”