Valley activists join Women’s March on Washington

  • In Good Spirits: Jennifer Catt, Katie Schofield, Carol Finneran heading to @womensmarch on this capacity “Skedaddle” charter. Gazette Staff/Kevin Gutting

Published: 1/21/2017 9:24:25 AM

WASHINGTON — Thousands of women are expected to take part in a march today, demonstrating for the rights of women and protesting the policies of the incoming administration.


The Women’s March on Washington came into being in the day following President Donald Trump’s election. The actual event is believed to have been started by a woman in Hawaii watching as the exit-poll results came in. The Facebook event grew widely popular and was replicated across the nation before others made an effort to create a unified event.

The grassroots effort comprises dozens of independent coordinators at the state level and is helmed by four national co-chairs and a national coordinating committee.

The group states its mission as follows:

“The rhetoric of the past election cycle has insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us — immigrants of all statuses, Muslims and those of diverse religious faiths, people who identify as LGBTQIA, Native people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, survivors of sexual assault - and our communities are hurting and scared. We are confronted with the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear.

“In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore. The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.

“We support the advocacy and resistance movements that reflect our multiple and intersecting identities. We call on all defenders of human rights to join us. This march is the first step towards unifying our communities, grounded in new relationships, to create change from the grassroots level up. We will not rest until women have parity and equity at all levels of leadership in society. We work peacefully while recognizing there is no true peace without justice and equity for all.”

Taking a brief pause to speak with the Gazette Thursday afternoon at a local coffee shop, Lindsay Sabadosa, coordinator for the Pionner Valley, talked about her role and why she became involved.

Working as a translator, Sabadosa joined the Women’s March on Washington the day after the election after a friend sent her the invite on Facebook.

“I’m going because my presence is a form of resistance. It’s expressing my voice,” Sabadosa said. “All I need is for them to count that I was there and for them to know that that many people traveled to D.C. we because we believe in human rights.”

As coordinator for the region, Sabadosa said it’s been breathtaking and heartwarming to see the amount of interest in the community.

“The election seemed to represent a turn away from human rights and women’s rights and decency and morals and I think people felt that their voices had not been represented in the election results on all levels,” she said. “Coming together as a community, I think has helped lessen those feelings.”

The march isn’t just about women’s rights or environmental rights, according to Sabadosa, it’s about intersectionality.

“You can’t have progress in one issue unless you have progress in all issues,” she said.

Sabadosa is attending the march with her 10-year-old daughter and friends from Baltimore.

“We are not an anti-Trump rally. People keep bringing it back to him and it’s like most things in the world – not about him,” she said. “We’re going to have our voices heard. We’re not going to protest a particular politician or even a particular issue. It’s about this ground spring of movement.”

Karen, 61, of Conway, asked that her last name not be used and said she was feeling anxious. She was planning to meet up with friends who also left from the Northampton area but they arrived earlier and were waiting.

She said she had never having taken part in something like this before, and was marching to stand up for respect and kindness for all.

“I’m the mother of an adult daughter, a daughter of color, and this is the world she is going to inherit,” Karen said.

The March

The event begins with a rally starting at 10 a.m. on Independence Avenue and 3rd and 4th Streets. Forty-four men and women are on the list of expected speakers.

The names include Ilyasah Shabazz, Malcolm X’s Daughter and trustee of the Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center, Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, filmmaker Michael Moore, actress America Ferrera who serves as chair of the Artists Table of Women’s March on Washington and Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

The march is set to begin at 1:15 p.m.

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