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D.C. March-‘Walking in Harmony’
 
           
 
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
 

STORY BY KAREN BOSSICK

PHOTO SLIDE SHOW OF KETCHUM MARCH BY NILS RIBI

“English majors for good grammar.” “Engineers for Good Science.”

Aimee Christensen got a chuckle out of some of the signs that dotted the people-scape at the Women’s March on Washington held this past weekend.

But they didn’t take away from the swell of pride she felt during the five hours she spent in the middle of the masses.

“I took part in the climate march in New York a year ago and it drew 400,000 people. This felt like way more, like twice as many as that,” she said. “It was just packed. Full. You would not have believed the stream of people coming onto the metro. I thought it was never going to stop. And it was all positive energy, laughter.”

Christensen watched two hours of speeches on the Jumbo-tron and an “incredible” drumming band named Batala. Then she started marching. Again, she couldn’t believe how many bodies were filling the streets.

“Of course, there were signs about women’s rights. But there were also people of different ethnicities, different backgrounds,” she said. “There were Muslim men holding signs about protecting immigrants, about protecting people of different faiths.”

Incredibly, Christensen ran into two good friends in the middle of the crowd—one of them, a women who co-founded the Strong Women Action Network, which raised $3,000 to help women with airfare and lodging so they could attend the march. Eventually, she and her group of 10 went to the office of a Congresswoman who has supported solar energy.

They watched the rest of the parade from a viewing platform with bulletproof glass that had been set up near her office for the Trump inauguration.

Hailey acupuncturist Rosemary Cody arrived home late Tuesday, tired after a long day of traveling but glad she had gone.

“One of the things that impressed me the most was how peaceful it was. Over a half-million people marching together and everyone was so respectful of each other,” she said. “Even when we were packed like sardines and could hardly move people were smiling and encouraging each other. No pushing or shoving or angry words. It was wonderful to see that many people walking in harmony—toddlers, grandparents, all generations, men, women, many nationalities.”

One of Cody’s favorite sandwich board signs among the many she saw was worn by a man. It read: “This is what a feminist looks like.” A grandmother marching with her daughter and 8-year-old granddaughter carried a banner: “Three generations of nasty women.”

“National media may have zeroed in on a radical quotation from Madonna or the other celebrities to make it look like the march was divisive and angry, but that was not what it was about,” Cody said. “It was actually quite graceful.”

Renata Beguin arrived back in the Wood River Valley at 11 p.m. Tuesday, gushing about what had been the most exciting, uplifting week of her life. She marched in a pink pussycat hat knitted by a woman who could not be at the march with two good friends, including an African-American friend she worked with in her Geneva humanitarian work and her son Andrew and his girlfriend. They started at 9 a.m. and stayed until after 5, walking, singing and laughing arm in arm. When they had to climb up terraces, there were always hands reaching for them making sure they were safe.

Beguin said there were tiny babies carried in pouches and men and women using canes. There was every shade of color.

"Every once in awhile someone would start a cheer and the cheer would make its way like a roar from one end of the crowd to the other, hundreds of thousands of voices taking it up like a strong alpine wind howling up and down Washington," she said.

"It was a celebrating of humanity marching and standing for dignity, human rights and the protection of Mother Earth. Yes, there was outrage over things like Russian interference in our democracy. But, mostly it was over and over a call for tolerance for people who look differently, for equal pay for equal work, for freedom to make our own choices for our own bodies, for keeping the environment safe for future generations. I understand an estimated 4.6 million participated worldwide on every continent--the energy practically popped the lid of the planet."

FIRED UP TO “KEEP MARCHING”

The March on Ketchum didn’t end Saturday. “A group of marchers have already organized an event for Saturday, Jan. 28, to keep the momentum moving forward,” said Jan Peppler.

The group will meet at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 101 2nd Ave. South, in Hailey. Participants will be encouraged to share ideas for action and help create a strategy to stay involved.

And The Hunger Coalition has invited people to continue to “march hand in hand” by volunteering and donating cash and food.

“Last year we fed 17 percent of the county’s population. According to a study by Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT) the bare minimum wage to scrape by in Blaine County is $30.60 an hour for a family of four with two working adults. Idaho’s minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is barely enough to fill a gas tank to get to the food bank!” the Hunger Coalition said.

Curious how to make change? Volunteer and program manager Rachel Chinn will lead a tour of the Hunger Coalition from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 1., at The Hunger Coalition’s headquarters, 121 Honeysuckle St., Bellevue.



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