Summit County residents hit the road for national women’s marches
Women are taking to the streets to stand up for their rights this Saturday. The Women’s March on Washington sparked a movement, which has stretched worldwide. According to the event’s website, there are 673 sister marches happening globally, with an estimated 2.2 million attendees.
The marchers are speaking out for their rights to reproductive health care, personal freedoms, and to enforce that all people should be treated equally.
The sister march in Denver was started by three women who wanted to bring the protest to the Centennial State. Cheetah McClellan started by posting on Facebook about her frustration that there was not an event scheduled for Denver. After she connected with Jessica Rogers and Karen Hinkel, the event began to hit full steam. What started as a simple Facebook page by McClellan now has more than 34,000 RSVPs on the site. The march leaves from Voorhies Memorial Pond at 9:45 a.m. Saturday, followed by a rally at Civic Center Park. Five additional cities in Colorado — Aspen, Carbondale, Grand Junction, Steamboat Springs and Colorado Springs — have organized similar events for Saturday.
“I’m excited by all the wonderful women I met on Facebook. It was just truly astonishing, like a whirlwind, more and more people joined everyday,” Hinkel said. “It’s just been very uplifting that so many women want to come together.”
Several of Summit County’s locals are traveling to Denver; Topeka, Kansas; and a handful are headed as far as the nation’s capital to participate in the event.
Emily Tracy, a Breckenridge resident and teacher at Colorado Mountain College, will be joining her two sisters for the Women’s March on Washington. For Tracy, the defunding of Planned Parenthood and other affordable care options for women and minorities seems like a way to punish women who have no other alternative.
“I don’t even know how to characterize what seems to be this underlying anger to so many groups and services,” she said.
Many of the attendees from Summit decided to make the march a family affair, bringing their young daughters to the event. Wendy Frazier, a 20-year resident of the county, said that her 10-year-old daughter, Karlyn, specifically asked Frazier to take her. Frazier will be heading to Denver in a group that includes three moms and five children.
“It’s unfortunate that as a 10-year-old girl she already understands that she has concerns for her rights as a woman in this country, as a female. But I also feel really honored and feel really proud that she’s wanting to voice those opinions,” Frazier said about her daughter.
Carrie Brown-Wolf, a Silverthorne resident, is taking her two daughters to the march in Washington, D.C. She was inspired by her family’s history in protesting for women’s rights. Her great-grandmother was a suffragette, fighting for the right to vote. She would take Brown-Wolf’s grandmother to marches, teaching her the importance of speaking out.
“For my grandmothers, taking a stand well overrided any anxiety they had and if they were arrested, it was worth it for the cause,” she wrote in an email to the Summit Daily. “I feel the exact same way about marching now. The language Trump has used in regards to women, minority and marginalized groups is not acceptable.”
Summit County marchers agreed that going to these events is not enough. Residents Sarah Sattin, Lauren Richman and Brianne Snow told the Daily over individual emails that they would be making calls to local politicians. For others, the march is about more than just standing up for women’s rights. Cindy Cleh, who now lives in Vermont, but previously lived in Summit for nearly 20 years, said that she has concerns on the new administration’s stance on the environment and education.
Snow, a long-time resident who is taking her daughter to the march, said that she wants to teach her daughter the importance of standing up for others.
“I love my community and I love the people here, but for the first time in a long time, I’m really fearful of our future,” she said. “This is the time to make sure that everybody is treated with kindness and respect. I want her to bear witness to this powerful occasion.”
Kim McGahey, the chairman of the Summit County Republican party, said that he was excited about President Donald Trump’s inauguration address on Friday. He believes that Trump has fulfilled his promises from his campaign, and will begin to break down some of the barriers in the country. While he understands and respects the right to protest, he thinks less government involvement will be better for the country.
“I think what we saw today in Trump’s speech was more about ‘We the People,’ and less about we the government,” McGahey said. “I think if they would calm down a little bit … and give this president a chance, I think they’ll find out that a rising tide floats all boats, including theirs.”
Despite safety concerns at worldwide protests that involve tens of thousands of people, Tracy said that it is important for people to make a stand. For her, these kind of events are the first step for people striving for change.
“People are afraid to go to these marches. There’s a level of fear there, where some percentage of people will perhaps try to find the easier path and stay home and stay safe. But I think many of us believe we won’t stay safe if we just stay home and hope for the best,” she said.
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