“On the count of three, I want you guys all to say, ‘We fight for right.’ One, two three:
We fight for right!”
Hundreds of organizers and marchers from the Colorado delegation packed into the Faith Tabernacle Church in the nation’s capitol on Saturday morning in preparation for the Women’s March on Washington DC. Co-organizer Kenzie Rodriguez shared a message of encouragement to marchers from the centenniel state before they convened with thousands of others.
“I was really lucky to be in the women’s national Democratic club meeting last night. ReverendJesse Jackson was there, and he said that ‘If our actions today end tonight, this is just a parade.
If we continue our actions tomorrow, this is a movement.’ So thank you so much.”
Co-organizer Tish Beauford reminded marchers that the women’s movement was anongoing initiative and encouraged them to stay engaged.
“This is just the start, okay. This is not a parade. This is the beginning of a big culmination ofthings to come. It is not a sprint, but it’s a marathon, okay? So, we don’t know how long thisadministration is gonna be in place. But it’s more about social, civil rights. Which never endsand never has term limits.”
The Colorado delegation has fallen in line with march chapters in other states, focusingon the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, Planned Parenthood funding, and otherpressing national issues. Representative Jared Polis also joined the gathering at thechurch to show his support for Colorado marchers.
“Well I’m excited to march in solidarity with so many Coloradans, to hold Trump accountable andto really show that the country is better than what the election shows and that we really want tosend a message that Trump noticeably didn’t send, that is one of unity, one of respect foreverybody. Respect for women, respect for minorities. I’ve seen so many positive signsencouraging everybody to get along in unity today. Hopefully it’ll be an inspiration to change themind and the heart of the new president, but also to mobilize so many people who wanna seechange in a positive direction.”
Protestors streamed from the church toward the national mall late morning. Speakersincluded activists such as Gloria Steinem, Angela Davis and Planned Parenthood
President Cecile Richards:
“Reproductive rights are human rights!”
Senators Tammy Duckworth, Kirsten Gillibrand and Kamala Harris“You have the power. And we the people have the power!”
And entertainers like Scarlet Johanson, Ashley Judd, Janelle Monae and Alicia Keys
“Feet on the ground
Not backing down”
Reproductive freedom, racial equality, climate change and LGBT rights were among themany issues addressed by speakers.
Participants became restless later in the afternoon, chanting for the march to begin.
Crowds gathered for several blocks, marching toward the capitol building and stretchingthe entire length of the mall.
Crowd chanting: Show me what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like!
Later Saturday evening, Representative Polis hosted a reception for Colorado marchersto meet and socialize.
“How exciting so many Coloradans came! It’s not like we’re that close to Washington folks.”
Despite Boulder resident Lea Kottmeyer long day amidst the crowd, she was eager to bepart of the movement.
“It was very crowded and very difficult for a long time, for like three hours, we just stood and we could barely hear the speakers on stage, but the crowd erupting was so empowering and so embolding that we were able to maintain standing that long. We were really tired. I think 5 hours later, closer to 3 that we started the march, we were really overcome with how big the crowd was. Being at the crowd level we really couldn’t see how big it actually was, but once we actually got moving, my daughter and I were just overcome with such excitement and joy to see how large the crowd was and that just kept us moving even though we were very tired and very fatigued.”
Andrea Stith from Denver appreciated the inclusive nature of the march and saw themovement as part of something larger.
“I felt that this march came together around so many different issues, whether it was like socialjustice, criminal justice with like Black Lives Matter, women’s rights, reproductive rights, youknow, it wasn’t just a women’s march. It covered so many broad issues that it was incredible.”
Women from Colorado marched for several reasons. Many were upset and motivated bythe election results, looking for ways to become politically active and engaged. LoriO’Donely of CO springs was shaken in November, but became driven to march in DC.
“The next morning when I woke up before I took a shower, I went to the bathroom to checkFacebook to see who won, and just sobbed and sobbed uncontrollably when I saw he won. Itwas just a visceral reaction, as soon as I saw the women’s march I knew I had to be here. And Iknew I had to be here for my 12 year old son and my 4 year old daughter. It changed everythingfor me.”
Katica Roy of Denver started a nonprofit, the Brave Coalition, focused on childhoodinclusion and safety. The impetus for the coalition came after her children’s school wasvandalized with hate graffiti in November. The school is specifically designed to helprefugee and immigrant children and families, known as a newcomer school. Roy wasdriven to march for her family.
“In the morning I was a little teary, so for me, you know I’m really here probably for three mainreasons: One for my children, I have a boy and a girl, so they can grow up in a world thatdoesn’t discriminate against based on their circumstance, pedigree or gender. In honor of myfather, who risked his life and the lives of my three eldest sisters to come here to the UnitedStates over 60 years ago, and in honor of my mom who immigrated here when she was 21 insearch for equality. So I was a little bit teary, and then when I was actually walking up to thenational monument and then up to the march I just felt empowered, in the sense of if we allcome together, and we all work together, nothing can stop us.”
For updates on the Colorado delegation initiatives, visit the website atcowomensmarch.org in the coming weeks. For KGNU News I’m Kaley LaQuea.