Please enjoy my article & photos for the March/April 2017 edition of the
Loon Lake Times newspaper
Walk A While With Me Friend
The Women’s March Comes to Eastern Washington
Copyright ©2017, ElizaBeth Coira
In the brisk, early afternoon sunshine of Saturday, January 21, 2017 we gathered. We brought out our courage and homemade signs, we pinned on our hopes, and walked side-by-side. Some of us already knew one another as neighbors, co-workers, family, and friends. Some of us complete and utter strangers, were happy to share a moment in each other’s kind company. So many different, beautiful faces: women, men, children of all ages. It looked like America, the country I love, the country I’ve wandered… the country I’m proud to call my home.
We gathered in Chewelah, numbering 125 strong. We gathered in Spokane, 8-11,000 strong. We gathered across the United States. We gathered across planet Earth. We common people came together, for so many reasons, yet united… against the shadow of a tyranny, not fully revealed. But we know it, we hear it, we sense it, we feel it…the worrisome presence of a most unwelcome guest. So many of our ancestors have known it, have fought it; been used and abused, too as pawns. It is the game of the unscrupulous greedy lords, slithering charismatics, self-anointed kings. Can you feel the scraps being tossed at us…while the coffers of elite egos grow ever over-flowing?
Does that really feel like goodness? Does it make you feel at ease? Even at peace with a greater sense of order, justice, or higher being? Does the blame game found on early playgrounds, the bullying, belittling hold appeal in your heart? So many came out to march, to unite, because searching within, their answer is No.
Their answer is No to rule by fear. Their answer is No to control through chaos. Their answer is No to hateful rhetoric, designed to separate and subjugate us. Their answer is No to limiting our freedoms, based on the opinions of only a few. Their answer is No, we won’t forfeit our country, our great democracy of “we the people.”
Angie Beam, lead organizer for the Spokane Women’s March, shared that “at the national, state, and local levels, the Women’s March was for peaceful unity and inclusivity. It’s about equity, women, and human rights. We stood together and united our voices against the normalization of hate that comes out as sexism, racism, bigotry, and more. We stood up for those who haven’t felt as though they could. On a personal level, the march was all of this and more for me. As you know, I’m in a wheelchair. I have been harassed, laughed at, insulted, and more. On a personal level, it was wonderful to see so many differently-abled people present. They were there because they knew they were welcomed. They were there because we gave them a safe place to be, to stand up for themselves. The Women’s March emphasized peaceful unity in everything we did and said…It was the most beautiful side of humans I have ever seen. I was so moved that I cried the entire route. I am so proud of Spokane.”
As reported by the Chewelah Independent, Chewelah marcher Cheri Freeman said, “Many of the marcher’s moods went from an attitude of fear and desperation to one of hope and jubilation as more folks showed up and we all realized we weren’t alone in our rejection of misogyny, racism, and bullying.” Marcher Susanne Griepp emphasized that “the goal of the Chewelah March was to join other marches taking place that day, to show a positive presence in town in support of community, families, women, men, children, tolerance, peace, and diversity…It was completely grassroots, in that it formed from within those who felt compelled right here.”
A true movement of “we the people.” These are the words from the preamble of our US Constitution:
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…”
Though our democracy has never been perfect, our history as a nation and humans more than a little blemished; we must continue to grow, evolve, rise to the ideals of liberty, justice, peace, and prosperity for all. For our country, for our ancestors, ourselves, our children, our neighbors, our friends, our fellow human beings. We cannot go back to the mistakes of old; too many lives have been wasted in the games of ego, greed, hurt, and hate. It’s up to we common folk to each be the change, to care for each other, and to reassemble our institutions to work for “we the people” on a daily basis. Each choice is your power, your guiding hand…for the greater good of all.
How many of us dream of touching this world, in this lifetime, for the better? Gather your strength, courage, determination, neighbors and friends. Because this is it. This is your call. This is your time. With Love in your heart…may Love be our guide.
Photos from the Chewelah Women’s March – January 21, 2017
ElizaBeth Coira is a writer, poet, consultant, facilitator, and Loon Lake neighbor. You can enjoy more of her poetry, photography, and articles at ElizaBethCoira.com or HomeGrownSojourner.com.
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