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Women’s March of the Palouse preaches equality for all

By Anthony Kuipers Moscow-Pullman Daily News

Inclusivity was one of the main themes of the Women’s March of the Palouse on Saturday as women, men and children marched to and gathered at Moscow’s East Side Park to preach equality and justice.

Moscow resident Amy Kingston brought her 5-year-old son to the march, as she did during last year’s event. She said it is important to show her son a world with equality – where men and women can be free to live the life they choose – is better off for it.

“That’s the future I want for him,” she said.

About a thousand people braved the chilly, wet weather to join the march with friends and loved ones. While she noticed the crowd was not as large as the 2,500-person march two years ago, she said the support of the people there reminded her she lives in “a community that believes what I believe, so I feel safe.”

The event was organized by Lysa Salsbury, director of the University of Idaho Women’s Center, with the help of other groups, including the Washington State University Women’s Center and Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse.

She invited Rev. Elizabeth Stevens from the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Palouse to speak at the event, which the reverend called a movement to resist the government’s efforts to roll back 50 years of progress.

She listed troubling recent events such as the sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and his response to them during his confirmation hearings in September, and the acts of violence against Jews, African-Americans and other groups during the past two years. She said the Women’s March of the Palouse is about protecting human values that all people deserve.

“We will not tolerate hate, we will not tolerate harassment,” she boomed into the microphone to the cheers of the crowd.

Jennifer Tess Murray, program coordinator for the WSU Women’s Center, said on stage that the national leadership behind these women’s marches has not always opened their arms to other groups, including transgender women.

Murray said the Women’s March of the Palouse is not just about women – it supports equality for all groups of people.

“We are all stronger when we march side by side,” she said.

Anthony Hatcher and Leah Wilson, both of Pullman, have attended previous women’s marches and were in Moscow on Saturday because they felt people in power in America do not practice that inclusivity.

“People who are compassionate about everyone, that’s who we need in power,” Anthony Hatcher said.

Wilson was more specific, targeting President Donald Trump, who she said represents a “humanitarian crisis.”

Music, a traditional Native American dance and spoken word poems accompanied the speeches on the East City Park stage.

Many of the attendees brought signs with phrases like, “This is what a feminist looks like,” “You have inherent worth and value,” “This is for my sister” and “My children were once called illegitimate bastards. Is this what we want to go back to with (Make America Great Again)?”

Even the dogs at the event got into the action. One dog was draped with a sign that said, “Pets from nasty women welcome” and “I’ll pee on that wall.”

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