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More than 2,000 expected at Spokane women’s march

More than 2,000 expected at Spokane women’s march


By Elizabeth Backstrom

More than 2,000 people have responded to a planned Women’s March on Spokane and North Idaho, a local chapter of a national event called the Women’s March on Washington D.C. Scheduled for tomorrow, and modeled after the historic 1963 March on Washington, it’s billed as, “a national movement for women, men, and children who stand for human rights, civil liberties, diversity.”

Neither the local nor national marches are planned as a protest against President-elect Donald Trump, organizers say, but are instead a push for recognition and legislative action on issues that directly affect women, such as reproductive rights, the costs of childcare, sexual assault and workplace discrimination.

Approximately 30 volunteers are coordinating the Spokane-area march, and women are coming from across the region, including Pullman, Deer Park and Moses Lake to participate in the event, which will take place at the Spokane Convention Center, 334 W. Spokane Falls Blvd.

“In response to the election many of us have felt scared, angry, or sad; but most importantly, this election has ignited the fire in many of us to stand up for human rights and get involved in our community. We recognize that this is a continuation of the work marginalized groups have been fighting for decades, and this march will serve as a catalyst for people to get more involved with those communities,” local organizers said in a statement.

Angie Beem, a lead administrator at the Spokane-North Idaho March, said she knows of several Trump supporters who will be joining the event.

“Not nearly enough has been done for women’s rights, our bodies, and our choices. Hardly anything above this has been done for other marginalized individuals in America. It’s time to take a stand. It’s time to move forward from the shoulders of the women of 1963. It’s time for equity and complete inclusivity for every American,” she said. “The hate and violence against our communities has reached an unacceptable level.”

Beem said groups from 20 countries will be joining the United States marchers on the 21st.

“We will be setting a precedent we hope the new administration will hear and act on. Because we aren’t just going to go away. I personally sat silent for far too long. I and many others will not sit by while more Americans are hurt, harassed or killed. We aren’t going anywhere. We won’t be sitting back down,” she said.

The Spokane group is asking marchers to bring warm clothes and blankets for Hope House, a downtown women’s crisis shelter, as part of the event. A rally with several speakers is planned before the event at 11 a.m. and a volunteer fair is scheduled afterward. Beem said at least 35 organizations plan to attend the fair.

The national march is expected to draw more than 200,000 people, including feminist leader Gloria Steinem, comedian Amy Schumer and actor Olivia Wilde. In Washington state, organizers are holding marches in Seattle, Spokane, Olympia, and Bellingham.

“Our constitution does not begin with ‘I, the President.’ It begins with, ‘We, the People.’ I am proud to be one of thousands who have come to Washington to make clear that we will keep working for a democracy in which we are linked as human beings, not ranked by race or gender or class or any other label,” Steinem said in a statement.

If you go

Date: January 21

Time: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Rally at 11 a.m.)

Place: Spokane Convention Center (route still TBA, but starting from there)

Website: http://womensmarchonspokane.org/

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Elizabeth Backstrom

About Elizabeth Backstrom

Elizabeth Backstrom majored in journalism at Western Washington University and currently works as a content analyst and grant writer in Spokane. Her background is in newswriting and features, but if an overabundance of caffeine is consumed, she has been known to write a humor piece or two. Backstrom attended various Christian churches growing up in Spokane and currently attends First Covenant Church, an inner-city ministry in downtown Spokane.

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