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Oregonians Join Worldwide Women's March

Kyra Buckley/KLCC

The day after Donald Trump is sworn in as the 45th U.S. President, people around the world will participate in the “Women’s March.” It began as a rally in Washington D.C. The goal is to elevate the visibility of women and marginalized communities. There are now marches planned in more than 50 countries, and there’s at least one march in every state. In Oregon people have pledged to rally and march in cities like Florence, Newport, Bend, and Eugene.

Ginny Osteen lives in Eugene. On Friday she and three friends are flying to Washington D.C. to join Saturday’s Women’s March on Washington.

Osteen: “I think it’s now really important for as many of us to stand up and say ‘We’re here to protect the rights of human beings.’ I think a large mass demonstration will have the biggest effect. But also so many demonstrations around the country and even around the world will make it known. And I just felt like going to D.C. was important for me to feel right about what I feel.”

Osteen says it’s important to stand for human rights because they are threatened by the incoming Trump administration.

Osteen: “As we say, women’s rights are human rights, and everything that is evidenced by all of the proposed cabinet members, everyone rights are being threatened. This isn’t a single issue march. We’re not marching just to protect Roe vs Wade, or any other rights. We’re just making a stand to say we’re here. We’re aware of what we’re face with and we want you to know we don’t support it. And we will do everything we can to protect out rights.”

Credit Women's March on Washington

Osteen experienced large demonstrations when she was younger. Now—at age 66—she says she’s mostly concerned about being warm enough in the D.C. winter. She’s not worried about counter-protests or safety.

Osteen: “We can’t have the progress that humanity has been making be halted like this and we just want it to be known that we’re aware, we’re not complacent, we’re anxious but we’re not afraid. And from that anxiety we’re going to do what we can to protect ourselves and our fellow human beings and the planet we live on.”

Supporters of the Women’s March don’t have to travel to Washington. People are coordinating more than 615 marches all over the world mostly through the Women’s March website and on Facebook.

That’s how retired LCC instructor Karen Myers learned about the Eugene march.

Myers: “I started looking around for the possibility for a march in Eugene, and was able through some Facebook connection of a friend of mine to find out there were some women who were planning on doing this. So I sought out these people and started attending meetings.”

Myers says the volunteers broke into committees like sign making and logistics. She joined publicity.

Myers also says the organizers want the event to be welcoming to everyone. Marches in other cities have been criticized for excluding women of color.

In Portland the NAACP pulled their endorsement of the march when they heard Black, Muslim, and Immigrant women weren’t being included. Since then the Portland march has gotten a new set of organizers.

Myers says the rally in Eugene will include speakers from different religions, women with disabilities, and women of color.

Myers: “I’m sure there’s a lot of work to be done, and I can tell you as a senior white woman, that I myself am learning a lot about inclusivity and keeping doors open and reaching out. I think it’s been a learning and growth experience for many people on this committee as well.”

The Women’s March in Eugene begins at noon Saturday at the Federal Courthouse and will end at the WOW Hall. There are also marches in Salem, Florence, Newport, and other cities throughout Oregon.

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