Women’s March in Chico will mirror those in Sacramento, Washington
By Heather Hacking, Chico Enterprise-Record
Chico >> People in Butte County will be piling into buses this week and heading out in caravans for the women’s marches in Washington, D.C., and Sacramento.
Even more will be packing a rain parka and heading to the Women’s March in downtown Chico.
The local event will include a gathering in City Plaza at 10 a.m., followed by a march through the downtown area starting at 10:30 a.m. About 30 speakers will begin at noon back at the plaza.
“We have a lineup of incredible women from diverse backgrounds,” said one of the event’s organizers, Tracy Davis. The commonality is that all felt “threatened and alienated,” Davis said.
The march is “in response to the rhetoric and dehumanization and threats that so many have felt from this last election cycle,” Davis said. “Women, women of color, the disabled, immigrants, were threatened and abused. This is a response from women across the nation.
“We won’t stand for this.”
The marches tie in with inauguration day for Donald Trump, who will be sworn in as the 45th American president Friday.
Equally motivated to hold a gathering timed to the inauguration was Gayle Kimball, who sought a permit for Saturday in City Plaza. When she found out Davis had reserved the city’s gathering spot, she joined Davis as a co-organizer.
“Two days after Trump won in the electoral college I felt viscerally sick,” Kimball said.
She said the silver lining was that people were organizing and the election might “compel a lot of activism,” Kimball said.
She worked at Chico State University in the past and connected with people who work in gender and sexual equality issues. Others in the community who want to have a voice include people who work in reproductive health issues, she continued.
The march is called the “Women’s March,” but its about all people, both women stressed.
“I think the main goal is to unify people around the country in confirming we are committed to all the things Trump has attacked,” Kimball said. “It’s a statement of unity. Also a goal is to let people know there is a broad support for progressive goals and values, and not to be discouraged.”
She urged people to read “Indivisible,” written by former congressional staffers as a “practical guide for resisting the Trump agenda,” www.indivisibleguide.com. The 26-page document urges people to work together and to communicate with their members of Congress, Kimball said.
“It’s important to support people who will be marginalized and harmed by the new administration’s policies,” she said.
For Kimball, one of her strong concerns is for the planet as a whole. Some of the policies she foresees coming from the nation’s capitol “would be disastrous” for the earth.
The march is just the beginning, she said. What is needed is a “coalition that is vigilant about proposed legislation that will harm people.”
Kimball also urged people to get connected with Norcal Progressives for the 99% on Facebook, join a cause, join a group, make a difference.
She said people are already upset and motivated. Bringing people together will help people who feel “isolated and marginalized.”
Saturday’s forecast calls for rain. The march will proceed in the rain and churches downtown have granted use of their facilities if the weather forces the speakers indoors, she said.
Meanwhile, many from the area are heading off to the state or national capital. Mary Wallmark, program director for Student Life and Leadership at Chico State, said a non-state-funded group of more than 100 local residents will head to Sacramento. She personally knows of at least a dozen people who are going to the march in Washington.
Looking at the promotion of these events, Wallmark said they have “evolved to be inclusive” and focus on issues that impact all people, not just women.
Donations for the local women’s march can be made through the North Valley Community Foundation (NVCF), http://tinyurl.com/z3fcxrc.
The NVCF provides umbrella nonprofit status to a variety of groups throughout the community. President Alexa Benson-Valavanis said her group doesn’t weigh in on individual causes, but encourages activism in general.
“I’ve been hearing from a lot of colleagues and clients,” who want to start new groups. Many people don’t realize “they can just walk in our doors and talk about what they want to do in the world and we can get behind them,” she said.
The community foundation structure can help “so they can do something about those feelings, whether optimistic or scared.”