Marching into history
Local contingency attends Washington March for Women’s Lives

Twenty-one-year-old Kyle Conrad, a sociology major at Fort Lewis College, left, and Joelle Riddle, Planned Parenthood Education
Program manager, right, take a break from marching. "This goes deeper than a woman's right to choose - it's about access to birth control and education as well," said Conrad.

On April 25, roughly 1 million participants from around the globe marched in what will go down in the record books as the largest protest in the history of Washington, D.C. A Durango constituency consisting of about 30 men, women and children added to the nearly 1,000 Colorado participants in the march. For many, marching for women's rights has spanned generations and included marches from the '70s through the present.

The group from Durango included students, mortgage brokers, husbands, Democrats, Republicans, developers, Catholics, Jews and concerned citizens. The march was sponsored by many organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Black Women's Health Imperative, the Feminist Majority, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, National Organization of Women and Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Common themes amongst marchers and speakers included protecting a woman's right to choose, promoting sex education and removing the "Global Gag" rule, which was reinstated by President Bush on his second day in office and stopped funding for international family planning. One of the most important messages of the day was getting everyone to vote this coming Election Day.

Congressmen, congresswomen, celebrities and representatives of organizations and religions provided the fodder for marching on to the elections. Speakers included activist and Ms. magazine founder, Gloria Steinem; presidential candidate Carol Mosely Brown; Secretary of State Madeline Albright; and actresses Susan Sarandon, Cybil Sheppard, Kathleen Turner and Ashley Judd. Addressing not just issues about women, many spoke of fundamental freedoms and human rights presently being challenged. When former First Lady and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., spoke, cheers and cries arose from the crowd as she implored marchers to continue their activism beyond the march.

"If all we do is march today, that will not change the direction the way the country is headed under the current administration," she said.

Friends Cynthia Roebuck, left, and Lynn Greco listen to speakers during the
march. Said Roebuck, "I felt strongly about the issues and it concerns me
greatly that my daughter may not have the same right to choose that my
generation fought so hard to attain.” Greco reflected, "The march
brought home a feeling of empowerment and a connection to thousands of others who feel the same the same way I do. It gave me hope."

Durangoans Mark and Sharon Stetz, second and third from right, stand among friends at the March on April 25. Sharon said she marched to "speak for women in the world who can't speak for themselves." Mark said he marched to support his wife and show solidarity for women's issues.



A popular message among marchers
was to get out the vote.

Seminal women’s rights activist
Gloria Steinem addresses the
crowd of 1 million marchers.

Durangoan Enid Brodsky (left) stands with a friend during the march. "We have to do something as women's rights
are eroding," said Brodsky of her reason for attending. "I've never been more unhappy with our government's
stand on women's issues than now."

Local marchers file past amidst the
more than 1 million who participated
in the March for Women’s Lives in
Washington, D.C., on April 25.







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