An Historic Event – The Women’s March on Idaho
(Cover photo courtesy of Harrison Berry at the Boise Weekly)
On January 21, 2017 between 5,000 and 7,000 people participated in the Women’s March on Idaho in downtown Boise joining more than 670 women’s marches around the world. Other marches in Idaho included Driggs, Idaho Falls, Ketchum, Moscow, Pocatello, Sandpoint and even tiny Stanley where one half of the population (32) turned out. The Women’s March movement came together in response to the inauguration of Donald Trump as our 45th President.
Signs included wide, diverse range of political messages. From “Climate change is real” and “Babies against bigots” to “Fight sexism” and some with a more pointed message calling out Trump’s sexist, bigoted and overtly narcissistic rhetoric. Pink hats with ears, dubbed Pussyhats, were a common sight as well.
The Boise event gained international attention for both the spirit and hardiness of the participants during another #snowtato event. The Boise Women’s March on Idaho was noted by the news organizations like the New York Times, New York Magazine, MSNBC and other national outlets.
(I have included links to stories from around the country at the end of this post!)
Colette Raptosh and Nora Harren are 17 years old and are Women’s March Youth Ambassadors. In the wake of the 2016 election, they established a political action group named “People For Unity”. Their mission emphasizes creation of “intergenerational networks, promotion of citizen activism in Idaho to uphold women’s rights, human rights and environmental justice.” Colette is a Capital High junior and Nora is a senior at Borah High. Both are frequent visitors to Hyde Park’s two coffee shops!
Even though Nora and Colette were too young to vote in this election, they were pulling for Hillary Clinton. The young ladies, who founded a group called People for Unity, had great success organizing a rally at the Idaho State Capitol right after the election, so they decided to rally local women — and men — to participate in Saturday’s Women’s March.
During the Unity Rally they organized Nora Harren noted “We want to work for something, rather than against it. We want our voices to be heard that we stand on the side of love. We celebrate diversity and understand that there is strength in diversity. We, together, will protect and progress on LGBTQ rights, women’s rights, minority rights, and reproductive rights. We will support those around us who may be feeling uneasy. I feel a strong sense of purpose, and with that purpose, I feel hope. I hope that you can share this feeling with me. I want to leave you with this… Diversity is an integral component of the United States, it is crucial that we can disagree without being disagreeable. We are strong alone, but we are stronger together.”
Nora and Colette gained the support of many progressive organizations around Idaho and well beyond. One of the more significant acknowledgments came from Hillary Clinton when she re-posted Nora’s Women’s March post on Twitter which received almost 115,000 likes and was retweeted over 22,000 time!
The national Women’s March organizers stated “the rhetoric of the past election cycle has insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us — immigrants of all statuses, Muslims and those of diverse religious faiths, people who identify as LGBTQIA, Native people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, survivors of sexual assault — and our communities are hurting and scared.”
The Response to the Women’s March
While the excitement of the Women’s March on Idaho, the enthusiasm to be engaged and proactive has received a huge boost, there are women who question the validity of the issues being addressed by marchers. In her story “You Are Not Equal. I’m Sorry“, blogger Dina Leygerman of Sleep.Eat.Write’s well delivered response to the ““I am not a “disgrace to women” because I don’t support the women’s march.” was spot on…
” You can make your own choices, speak and be heard, vote, work, control your body, defend yourself, defend your family, because of the women who marched.”
Boise, Idaho author and feminist Brooke Linville wrote:
There are many who claim that we do not know what we marched for. To them I say, if you are still asking that question, then you aren’t listening. These are my reasons. What are yours?
I marched because I believe that my fellow citizens are people who deserve to be treated with dignity and respect no matter their skin color or gender or religion.
I marched because I was lucky to be born in the 1980s into a life where a chromosome of my dad’s sperm wasn’t supposed to determine my opportunities in life.
I marched because we have a dark history, one where people were owned, were property, were objects.
I marched to honor those who came first. And those who will come next.
I marched because I am a single mom of young boys who MUST provide for my family, and a world that only values men’s contributions in the workforce is not one where I can lead.
I marched for my boys, to show them what it means to be engaged citizens and to make it known that in our family, a woman’s voice matters.
I marched to give voice to my own singular experiences within a collective movement. Together, our voices can shatter ceilings.
I marched because I am a woman. And I live in a country that has so much promise.
I marched. Now I act.
There is literally a “reason” every one of the 5,000 – 7,000 people in Boise took part in the Women’s March on Idaho. And, like Brooke said, it is time to act. #resist
Idaho Efforts New and Old Addressing Issues
Since, and because of the Women’s March. several women have stepped up to take on issues important to them and to the community. Ronda Barrett has create an Indivisible Group here in Boise and many are following through on the Women’s March by participating in the “10 Actions for the first 100 Days” campaign. There are also existing groups like TransForm Idaho, Better Idaho and others who have been plugging away for years doing whatever they can to insure women’s issues are in the forefront.
Stories & Social Media About the Women’s March on Idaho
New York Times: “Pictures from Women’s Marches on Every Continent”