Saturday, January 21, 2017

Wichita's Women's March was a huge success

By SJ Otto
I was really impressed with Wichita's Women's March. There were thousands of people there. That has got to be about the larges march I ever attended in Wichita.
There seemed to be a general agreement that we all wanted President Donald Trump to know we will not sit back passively and just watch as he destroys women's rights and other rights that we have. There were also women's marches in major cities across the country and across the world.
The march started at the Keeper of the Plains statue. Then people marched to Wichita City Hall. One estimation I heard was that the crowed reached about 3,000. Women and men of all ages marched. Although most of the marchers were women, there were a lot of men and some children.
Once the crowd gathered at City Hall there were some women singing with guitars and the speakers started.
Beth Clarkson spoke on voter machine fraud.
"When I was a little girl I wanted to be a doctor and I was told I could not be a doctor," she told the crowd. "I was told I could be a nurse or marry and doctor. Today I have a PhD and I'm working on the voting system."
She said she has been investigating instances of voter fraud in Kansas and there have been many irregularities.
Close your eyes and think of Wichita in 100 years. I envision flying cars, hand counted paper ballets and universal health care," she said. "Millennials, you are the greatest generation."
And if they help us vote out these conservatives I will agree with her.
 Julie Burkhart, Founder and CEO of Trust Women, spoke of need to fight for reproductive freedoms.
"Dr. Tiller used to say to me 'tell me the bad news first," she said. "Well the bad news is for the next few years reproductive freedom rights will be bad."
She went on to talk about efforts in two states to completely ban abortion.
"If you can't control reproduction you can't control your own life," she said.
Trust Women has a clinic in Wichita, Kansas and Oklahoma City.
Karen Countryman-Roswurm spoke about human trafficking.
"Sexual violence is the pipeline to prison for women," Roswurm said.
She went on to talk about women who end up in prison, women who lose their children and women whose lives have been messed up because their men have been jailed under the "war on drugs."
"We have to stand outside our privilege and recognise that violence exists," she went on to say.
Pastor Pamaline King-Burns spoke of her faith and fighting against hate.
"There are the seeds of discord," she said. "There were the children who grew up slaves, black men were slaves, Chinese were indentured. The seeds grew oak trees of hate. But we rose up. We made child labor laws, women can vote."
Briley Meek spoke for Planned Parenthood.
"I don't think I'm alone when I say I'm afraid for the future of my health care."
She said that Planned Parenthood not only gives women health care but does it without passing judgment on women.
Miranda Allen spoke of empowering women. She spoke of the need for people to vote.  Allen ran for the US House of Representatives as an independent.
Allen ran in the Kansas’ 4th District, which includes most of south-central Kansas. That seat is presently held by Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo.
The crowd was enthusiastic. Reproductive rights, Obamacare (Affordable Care Act, ACA) and issues of combating racism were themes heard from the various speakers.
Other rallies have been held across the country and world. My wife Cam Gentry was in Washington, DC. She said that march was way bigger than anyone thought it would be.
One thing I noticed from many people I know and talked to is that Trump is galvanizing people to become politically active. This may be just the first salvo of a political movement for women and men to defend their rights. 
It was hard to capture the crowd with a camera.

There were some very creative signs.

And in Washington DC.....

Cam and her sister Marsha Hesany.

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