By Reader Staff
Looking ahead to what’s sure to be a critical election in 2020, the N.Idaho Women are preparing for their fourth annual Women’s March, set to take place Saturday, Jan. 18 in Sandpoint. The event will begin with a rally at the Sandpoint Middle School, 310 N. Division St., with doors opening at 11 a.m.
The theme of this year’s event is “Take Action!,” with three speakers scheduled to address the marchers. The first speaker will be Reclaim Idaho Executive Director Rebecca Cleveland-Schroeder, whose organization launched the successful citizen initiative campaign to pass Medicaid expansion in Idaho, and is currently leading a new “Invest in Idaho” ballot initiative for funding K-12 education as the answer to a statewide underfunding problem that ranks spending on Idaho schools near the bottom in the nation.
Also on the speakers’ list is Nancy Harris, a fourth-generation Idahoan running for the United States Senate nomination to oppose incumbent Republican Sen. Jim Risch. According to a statement from N.Idaho Women, “There’s no time more critical than now to remove complacent, corporate-funded lawmakers.”
Harris is also expected to address solutions to the climate crisis that offer entrepreneurial opportunities and good-paying jobs. According to Harris, “just as we have eradicated diseases, landed on the moon and found a cure for cystic fibrosis, we can also fix global warming, save endangered species from extinction and feed a rapidly growing population.”
Finally, Laura Tenneson of the Western States Center will take on the issue of human rights — specifically, white supremacy and white nationalism in North Idaho. Citing the distribution of hate materials in neighborhoods, stores and on students’ vehicles, Tenneson’s talk is geared toward offering concrete ways that citizens can effectively oppose hateful messaging from spreading.
Human rights groups from Bonner, Boundary and Kootenai counties, as well as other local organizations, will have tables at the event offering direct actions for marchers. “Love Lives Here” signs will also be available for a donation.
According to organizers, the march and rally are opportunities “for women to join other women in an uncompromising renewal to human rights and progressive social change.”
That said, march organizer Rebecca Holland stated that all are welcome to participate: “Yes, our good brothers and families are welcome to march with us. We all need to stand firm together.”
Millions of others will participate in “sister marches” across the nation, as they have since the first Women’s March on Jan. 21, 2017 — the day after the inauguration of President Donald Trump and the biggest one-day protest in American history.
Organizers say the N.Idaho Women’s march “will raise strong voices for positive changes in our government. For three years, citizens have resisted attacks against diversity, against the environment and public lands, against cuts to social programs supporting citizens’ basic needs. This women-led movement is a bonding nationwide of ordinary hard-working, principled individuals who are determined to move the nation toward a more caring, peaceful existence.”
Marchers are encouraged to come with signs “expressing their feelings in PG-rated terms,” as well as bring rhythm instruments, small drums and shakers. The march will follow the paved “Community Trail,” safe from traffic with Sandpoint police protecting a peaceful demonstration.
The N.Idaho Women’s Facebook page offers pre-registration for free admission. Donations to the grou’s GoFundMe or at their welcome table at the event will help cover basic costs for facility, permit fees and printing.
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