A grassroots effort to have the North Fork Valley represented at the Jan. 21 Women's March on Denver is growing. The march is scheduled to run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21, at Denver's Civic Center Park.
The Denver March is one of dozens of sister marches to the national Women's March on Washington, D.C., planned in cities and towns in all 50 states and in at least 25 countries.
Once the word got out that people from this area are planning to attend the Denver march, about 30 immediately committed, said Elaine Brett of Paonia, who is assisting with efforts to gather and disseminate information on the event. Those committed thus far include males and females, farmers and ranchers, lawyers, social workers, teachers, health care professionals and business owners. In age they range from young grandchildren to 84 years old.
The march isn't just about women's rights, said Brett. And it isn't intended to be a protest of anything or anyone. Rather it's a show of support and solidarity for the basic human rights of all. They also recognize that vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of the country.
A North Fork banner designed by artist Mary Smith will be carried in the march. It depicts the area's water, mountains, recreation, wildlife, arts and agriculture. "That will let people know who they represent," said Brett.
"There are so many issues that all fall under that message of unity and protecting our rights," said Brett. Because of that, people wanting to express specific issues will carry their own signs.
The important thing is to keep it peaceful and keep the bigger issues of human rights and equality in the forefront, said Brett. She believes the national organizers are doing a good job of that through the website and social media. "This is not an 'anti' message, but standing up for things we worked for and fought for in the last 30 years. We don't want to go backwards," she said.
The environment is also a concern for Brett, who grew up on Lake Erie where industrial steel mills left the waters poisoned and the air polluted. "If people don't speak up, this is what will happen again."
A national issue that could directly affect the North Fork Valley is the possible sell-off of public lands. About 50 percent of the NFV is federal land, said Brett. "What if it's sold off? The people making the decisions have no idea what goes on here. Small towns are the ones that are going to get hurt and need protection."
Sister marches are also planned for Grand Junction, Aspen and Carbondale, as are Colorado Springs, Steamboat Spring and Dolores.
Those interested in joining he march are invited to an informational gathering at 6:30 Sunday, Jan. 15, at the Paradise Theatre. Information will be provided and people needing or offering transportation or lodging can meet and make plans.
Grand Junction encourages participants to march in honor or memory of family or friends. Marchers can gather beginning at 12:30 p.m., at the old R-5 school at the corner of Seventh and Grand. The march begins at 1 p.m. and travels along Main Street from Seventh to First avenues, where speakers will address the importance of empowering women and girls.
The Women's March for Grand Junction and Denver have Facebook pages; the D.C. website, www.womensmarch.com, contains information about the national march, including routes and alternative routes, links to all the sister marches, and other resources.
A Facebook page, Women's March on Denver - Official, has been established to provide information and an informal count of the number of people who plan to attend. Marches can also be followed on Instagram and Twitter.