Just days after attending the January 2017 Women’s March in Washington D.C., Minnesota mother, teacher and activist Elizabeth Williams got an e-mail from the friend with whom she’d attended the march. The friend had decided to become project manager for a new national effort: “The Tax March.” The goals of the Tax March were to pressure President Trump to release his tax returns, while promoting awareness about the weakness or even non-existence of laws to prevent the election of someone who refused to be transparent about his finances and the potential conflicts of interest they might reveal. Elizabeth offered to help in any way she could. Her friend’s response: “Then organize a tax march in Minnesota!” Despite a relative lack of experience, but knowing Minnesotans are generally civic-minded, energetic Elizabeth agreed to try. When she started approaching her network of contacts about the idea, she found many people already fired up and equally ready to take action.
Elizabeth attended a Stand Up Minnesota meeting with her friend Ingrid and asked the group for assistance. Enter Sue Hamill, a Stand Up member excited to help and coming with a notable set of organizational strengths. With her she brought Jennie Ward, daughter of Minnesota State Representative JoAnn Ward and someone highly knowledgeable about the state and local political landscape. This became the initial steering group behind Tax March Minnesota.
Elizabeth, Sue and Jennie had no sooner started to meet when they were contacted by Kristine and Steve Heckler, organizers of the Twin Cities Jazz Fest and St. Paul Blues and Funk Fest. Pretty much on a gut feeling about how Minnesotans were feeling about dark money in politics this year, Kristine and Steve had already pulled a permit for a rally at the State Capitol on “tax day,” Saturday, April 15. Excited to find each other, Elizabeth, Sue, Jennie, Steve and Kristine joined forces. Since then, a steering committee of additional local volunteers, including people with skills in logistics, volunteer recruitment, database management, stagecraft, social media, writing, budgeting and fundraising have been meeting weekly to bring the Minnesota “Show Us the Money” Tax March together.
With a bipartisan message and the planned-for participation of thousands, Tax March Minnesota’s volunteers are sure this will be a special day where Minnesotans from every walk of life, every community, and on both sides of the aisle can come together to demand transparency from their elected officials for the betterment of their state and the nation. Over 125 marches will took place on April 15, 2017, across the country, but Minnesota’s was one of the most enthusiastic and well-attended. Keep an eye on us: we've got even more exciting plans for 2018!