Inspiration and Sunshine at the Portland Womxn's March and Rally for Action
When you work on organizing an event like the recent Portland Womxn’s March and Rally for Action, you wake up the day of with a few questions: Will the weather be good? Yes, it was sunny! Will the speakers remember to show up? Yes, they did! Will people come with their friends, family, signs and energy? Yes, they will!
And, many of them were Nasty Women, who showed up to march behind our flag and banner. Joining them were around 3,000 Portlanders, who also brought their creativity and sense of justice to an event where dynamic speakers touched on a range of issues that affect our daily lives.
DJ Anjali energized the crowd with her Global Bass sound and Panjabi dancing. Emcee Elona Wilson welcomed the crowd to the sunny but chilly PSU Park Blocks and began introducing our amazing speakers. Jessica Beckett, the March’s organizing director, gave the land acknowledgment and brought the first speaker to the stage. Agnes “Grandma Aggie” Baker-Pilgrim, a Takelma tribal elder, environmental advocate and water protector, reminded us that “water was our first medicine.” Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici pointed out that “Trump is the national emergency,” and that emergency is being dealt with by the many women elected to the 116th Congress. Reyna Lopez, Executive Director of PCUN, rallied the crowd around the rights of migrant workers who need stability, access to drivers’ licenses and the ability to live their daily lives without fear.
Deborah Maytubee Denton, founder of MMIW USA, spoke about the critical importance of collecting data and increasing resources for missing and murdered indigenous women and told about a bill in the Oregon Legislature (HB 2526) that would do this. Shannon Olive, founder and president of WomenFirst, talked about her work with justice-involved women and women in recovery and about the need for us with privilege to use it to help those in worse circumstance so that together, we can rise. Debra Rabbi Kolodny argued for compassion, wholeness and healing in social justice work and the need to build the bridge of transformation between where we are and where we want to be. Multnomah County Commissioner Susheela Jayapal, our keynote speaker, reminded the crowd that while we resist and persist, we need to remember to insist!
NWGSD was one of the sponsors of the March and two of its board members, President Ali King and Communications Director Margaret Foley, helped organize the event, including participating in the decision to change the Womxn’s March and Rally For Action from its original January date to March 3.
Thanks to all of you who supported the March and came out to see what a new version of a Womxn’s March could be!
If you weren’t able to attend the March or would like to see and hear some of the speakers and performers again, we’ve compiled a YouTube playlist (full list: http://tinyurl.com/yypbm4e4).
Be inspired and enjoy!