By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
On Saturday January 21, the day after the Presidential inauguration of Donald Trump, women and supporters from around the country will gather on the national mall in Washington D.C. for the Women’s March on Washington (WMW). Their mission is to unify and empower everyone who stands for human rights, civil liberties, and social justice for all.
According to organizers, “the Women’s March on Washington is a women-led movement bringing together people of all genders, ages, races, cultures, political affiliations and backgrounds in our nation’s capital … to affirm our shared humanity and pronounce our bold message of resistance and self-determination.”
There are 616 Sister Marches planned involving all 50 states and in 32 countries around the world, including one in Oklahoma City that same day.
The Women’s March on Washington Facebook event page shows that over 200,000 individuals have signed up to attend.
More than 100 different interest groups including Planned Parenthood, Sierra Club, Doctors for America and NAACP will be represented at the D.C. event.
The march was the unintentional brainchild of 60-year old attorney Teresa Shook in Hawaii.
Immediately after the election Shook created a Facebook event page announcing a march in D.C. which brought about a flood of followers with concerns about threats to women’s rights, women’s choice, affordable health care and equal pay.
The official WMW website states, “The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message around the world and to our new administration on their first day in office, that women’s rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.”
D.C. headliners include Angela Davis, Michael Moore, Gloria Steinem, Van Jones, Cecile Richards, Scarlett Johansson, and the Indigo Girls.
Lead organizers of the Oklahoma City event are Lindsey Kanaly, Rev. T. Sheri Dickerson, Amanda Forman, Cicely Johnson, and Emma Swepston. Others organizers include Aaron Wilder, Sinead Maguina, Kara Garde, Bethany Scott, Devyn Denton, Sacia Fowler, Christina Mejia and Sarah Little.
As reported by News Channel 4’s Sarah Stewart, Kanaly said, “Not everybody can go to D.C., but people want to do something and feel the need to do something now.”
About 4,000 people plan on attending the local event on Saturday, which Oklahoma organizers say is not a protest. Rev. Dickerson said, “We are looking for and towards a positive future for women and all of the citizens of Oklahoma,” Stewart reported.
Featured speakers are National Director of Ms. Abilities America Elizabeth Reeve, Regional Director of Public Policy and Organizing for Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes Tamya Cox, Registered Nurse Devyn Denton, marriage equality lawsuit plaintiff Sharon Bishop-Baldwin, author and transgender rights activist Paula Sophia Schonauer, State Rep. Regina Goodwin (D-Tulsa) and OU Director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program Dr. Maria del Guadalupe Davidson.
Additional speakers include University of Tulsa College of Law Professor Tamara Piety, LGBTQ rights advocate and member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Kendra Wilson-Clements, Director of Diversity Enrichment Programs at the University of Oklahoma Jessica Martinez-Brooks, and CAIR Oklahoma Government Affairs Director Anna Facci,
A Broken Arrow resident, Bishop-Baldwin posted on Facebook, “I intend to speak about the need for people in marginalized communities to become allies for one another. Strength in numbers will ensure that there are more of ‘us’ than there are of ‘them’ if we would stand together in solidarity, both celebrating and respecting our differences.”
Adrienne Gautier, chair of Sierra Club Red Earth Group in Norman told The City Sentinel, “The Sierra Club is marching to show our support for basic human rights for all. These rights include clean water, clean air, and access to public lands. We are also marching to support gender equity, which is a unifying theme of this march.”
The Oklahoma City march will begin at the Capitol South Plaza courtyard, traveling west on 21st, south on Lincoln Blvd, east on 18th, back north on Lincoln, then turning west on 21st back to the south plaza.
“I’m marching for a better America,” Tulsa resident Carol Wimmer posted on Facebook. “For me, it’s a simple as that. I’m marching for my grandchildren’s future … a future time when racism, bias, glass ceilings, bigotry, hatred, and discrimination in all forms will have disappeared.”
Peace House director Nathaniel Batchelder said, “The Women’s Marches around the country will assemble thousands of women and women’s allies to support a positive agenda for all people.”
“AAUW, American Association of University Women, will have bottles of water available for marchers,” posted Jo Ann Bullard, AAUW Edmond. “We are so thrilled to participate and offer something to the marchers.”
The Women’s March on Oklahoma will take place from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. For more information, visit the WMO Facebook page.