Sending a Message

Back to Article
Back to Article

Sending a Message

Participants in the Women’s March in Moscow on Saturday gather to listen to speakers.

Participants in the Women’s March in Moscow on Saturday gather to listen to speakers.

Participants in the Women’s March in Moscow on Saturday gather to listen to speakers.

Participants in the Women’s March in Moscow on Saturday gather to listen to speakers.

DANIELLE CHIRIGUAYO | Evergreen reporter

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

Wearing pink “pussyhats” and with pink cheeks, more than 2,600 community members marched through the streets of Moscow in support of civil rights on Saturday afternoon.

It was called the Women’s March on the Palouse, an event that happened concurrently with the Women’s March on D.C. and numerous other marches throughout the country.

“We are sending a clear message to the incoming (presidential) administration, that these are our values and we are not about to back down,” said Elizabeth Stevens, the event’s main organizer.

Marchers carried signs, chanted together and some wore “pussyhats,” a reference to President Donald Trump’s recorded conversation in 2005, where he said he could grab women “by the pussy.”

Chants included, “Show me what democracy looks like/this is what democracy looks like,” “The people united will never be divided” and “Hey hey, ho ho, misogyny has got to go.”

Initially filing a permit for only 40 people, Stevens said the community organizers created the event to bring hope to the community.

Marching through the streets of Moscow with a sign that read “Everything is okay,” Karen Ryan, march participant, noted the amount of apprehensiveness present in the community after the election.

“(This election) is a giant wake-up call for both sides of the debate – for anybody who believes in love, and love conquering hate and fear,” Ryan said.

She is hopeful for the days to come.

“This (march) is a testament to how powerful we are as a people,” Ryan said.

Beginning near Moscow City Hall, marchers traveled down 3rd Street toward East City Park and gathered together to listen to community members, organizers and representatives of local organizations. Representatives from WSU, the University of Idaho, Planned Parenthood, Alternatives to Violence on the Palouse and Palouse Proactive were present.

Stevens addressed the crowd of supporters who gathered at East City Park after marching down Main Street.

“In defense of progress and one another and for the sake of our future, we will rise,” she said.

The march, as Stevens explained, was not only a protest of the incoming administration, but also served to support everyone who has ever been marginalized – not just women. She said the number of marchers who showed up proved to her how much support exists.

“Here on the Palouse, there is tremendous support for human rights, for people who are marginalized, women’s rights, for the LGBTQIA community,” Stevens said. “There’s a lot of people who are ready to stand shoulder-to-shoulder and do what needs to be done to keep from having the clock turned back.”

Moscow resident Kelli Foutch collected signatures of those who attended the march. She said she hopes to send copies to Idaho and Washington legislators.

“They’re physical reinforcements of our names to show we are real people who marched,” Foutch said. “We’re here, we’re watching, we vote and we expect respect for our rights.”

Mary Jo Hamilton, one of the event’s organizers, has spent more than 40 years fighting for civil rights. Since as far back as the 1960s, Hamilton has taken part in marches and protests, something she said believes is the right thing to do. In college, she worked with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Today, she focuses on working with poverty-stricken communities.

“This is a passion, and we can make a lot of difference,” Hamilton said. “It’s really not that hard, we just have to actually do it.”

Looking forward, both Hamilton and Stevens said they hope the march motivated individuals to make the change they wish to see in the world.

“My hope is that everyone left this march with at least one action item, one thing to do going forward,” Stevens said. “Whether that’s getting involved with one of these groups here, calling a senator or writing a letter, just to look out for each other.”