About thirty people gathered at the Petersburg Public Library to hear stories from residents who participated in marches across the country on January 21. Four of the residents were present including Elise Kubo who marched in Washington D.C. along with her daughter, Shelly.
“It was an incredibly positive experience. It was amazing,” Kubo said. “I felt a lot of positive energy of people who in many cases have never spoken up before and are finally standing up and speaking out and saying we are ready to stand up and work for what we feel as right.”
Kubo was among a million people marching in the nation’s capital. She says she participated to support healthcare.
“Because as a nurse, I’ve seen what capitalism does when it is applied to healthcare and it doesn’t make sense or work,” Kubo said.
Marching in D.C. was also a family affair for Petersburg resident, Jodie Banks. She rallied along with her mother, aunt and several cousins. She says she had misgivings that the event might be too exclusive representing only a few specific groups disagreeing with the Trump administration. But she was pleasantly surprised to find groups supporting equality in general—whether it was for gender, race, sexuality or other reasons.
“When I was there it was very validating,” Banks said. “There were people from all walks of life and all kinds of opinions. I think women’s rights was a common denominator but there were a lot of other great progressive values being represented.”
Equality is why resident Molly Taiber marched in Juneau. She’s passionate about ERA, the Equal Rights Amendment. It seeks to include this language to the constitution: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” The amendment was introduced in 1923, passed by Congress in 1972 but the States have yet to ratify it. Taiber says she would like to see it approved in her lifetime.
“I believe we all needed to be treated equal no matter race, religion, sex, gender, any of that needs to be represented equally,” Taiber said.
One thousand people marched in Juneau. Taiber says it was a positive event. She saw no anti-Trump signs and she heard no negative comments. She did notice a large number of high-school aged people involved.
“I look to them for their behavior, they’re very calm and sincere with their words,” Taiber said. “I hope they’re not quite watching the nightly news with the way we’re–we as in our age group adults–are acting and kind of revolting against the Republican Democrat duel, dueling. Whereas, they’re thinking more of it as together, which I felt the march was that. What can we do together?”
Bill Tremblay marched in San Diego, while his wife Cindi Lagoudakis rallied in D.C. In San Diego, about 40,000 people participated.
“What I liked about the crowd was it was very diverse,” Tremblay said. “There was a lot of families. Cindi saw that a lot in Washington D.C. as well to show some unity in women’s needs, rights, the whole gamut of things.”
Tremblay says he participated to show his support for healthcare, specifically women’s healthcare.
“We haven’t cured those problems,” Tremblay said. “The fact that you have difficulty getting things for birth control but we still fund for Viagra. It’s kind of like counter-productive folks.”
His comment got a big laugh from the gathering.
The Petersburg residents might have been marching for different reasons but they all agreed that the event was just the beginning of something bigger …a coming together.
“Humanity has the opportunity to evolve as a species,” Kubo said. “And there’s people who don’t like seeing that but it’s happening.”
Several people gathered at the library said they wanted to get involved in an organized group so they could better send messages to state and federal politicians.
Chelsea Tremblay, who organized the discussion, encouraged others to get involved. Several said they would like to create sub committees focusing on specific issues of concern such as healthcare and separation of church and state.
A Petersburg NOW taskforce was created in December. It’s a branch of the National Organization of Women. You can find them on Facebook.