[the_ad_placement id=”banner-right-placement”]

[the_ad_placement id=”banner-left-placement”]

Local activists Faith Strailey, left, and Amy Napoleon organized an informative agenda Jan. 18 for the 2020 Plumas County Women’s March and welcome 130 attendees from the steps of the county courthouse in downtown Quincy. Photo by Roni Java

Fourth annual Women’s March draws new crowd, focus

There seemed to be a bit of a change in the air Saturday, Jan. 18. The fourth annual national Women’s March, with its sister city marches all over the world, inspired new people to come out in Quincy.

Approximately 125 people showed up for the Women’s March on the steps of the courthouse — possibly the largest one in the county yet. From babies in strollers to women in their 80s, many generations were represented. The crowd was decidedly mostly women — outnumbering men at around four to one.

While the Women’s March was initially formed to support reproductive freedom and to protest sexual assault, during the 2016 presidential campaign, four years of marching, has evolved into various, more inclusive issues.

Also new this year was a variety of speakers as well as a voter registration booth.

Faith Strailey started the festivities by reading a brief history of the marches before handing it off to moderator Amy Napoleon Wilson, who introduced speakers.

Jane Braxton Little began the festivities by telling the crowd about her own dealings with sexual assault in the ’60s and how much has changed and not changed since that time. While assault hasn’t changed, being able to speak about it has. She also encouraged the crowd to “build creative leadership of women” and to build a world with “each one believing we are strong, beautiful, powerful to be all we can be, what we want to be.”

Plumas Charter School student Kylie Anderson spoke about the history of women’s suffrage; 2020 is the 100th anniversary. She shared with the audience reasons from 1910 why pundits at the time were against American women obtaining the right to vote. Two quotes that got a rise out of the audience were: “because in some states more voting women than voting men will place the government under petticoat rule,” and “because it is unwise to risk the good we already have for the evil which may occur.” Anderson ended her speech with “I want you to vote because I can’t yet.”

Sorrell Bobrink spoke next about her experience as a birth doula and her calling to “support all choices of all women” and reminded people that “birth rights are human rights and women should be supportive of other women’s choices.”

Risa Joy spoke on the subject of intersectionality and paid special focus on the basic human rights of transgender people, ending with “we need to support the vulnerable in our community.”

Teresa Arrate read a poem challenging the marchers to “imagine a world that knows the power of peace … respects all bodies, minds and spirits.”

Reporter Roni Java told personal stories to explain how far she felt American culture has come since the days when women couldn’t obtain their own credit in their own name for auto loans.

Amber West offered up a speech inviting the crowd to imagine what the world would look like with positive changes that seem unattainable including a Pride Weekend in Plumas County. “We did that!” West said.

Margaret Elysia Garcia spoke about how local marchers could be advocates for students of color and residents of color in the schools and businesses by calling out teachers, staffers and managers for implicit bias. She also advocated for comprehensive sex education and reproductive health for all students in Plumas County. She also made the observation that only one woman (Melissa Bishop) is running in the local elections in March.

After the scheduled speakers, Napoleon invited open mic speaking and the march, which took participants from the courthouse to the post office via Lawrence Street and back down Main Street to complete the circle.

Marchers carried signs with them that represented their issues of concern — everything from reproductive freedom to racism, to the impeachment of Donald Trump. Marchers seemed excited to see their numbers had increased from previous years and was more age inclusive than previous as well.

[the_ad_placement id=”banner-left-placement”]