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Local Women Prepare To March On Washington

Bob Barrett

About 200,000 people are expected to march in Washington D.C. the day after Inauguration Day to protest the incoming Trump administration. A group of women from northwest Florida will be with them. 

Kelly Parsons had planned on going to Washington DC this month long before this march was announced. "I had purchased a ticket to go to the inauguration. I wanted to be there to one day tell my kids [that] I was present when the first woman was sworn into office."

But instead of watching the inauguration of Hillary Clinton, she will be traveling to participate in the Women’s March on Washington the day after Inauguration Day. "Now the purpose is different but I feel there's still a reason for me to go. Just to be an advocate for the groups of people that the president-elect's rhetoric has just disparaged along the way."

The Women’s March on Washington is the brainchild of Teresa Shook, a retired attorney living in Hawaii who just floated the idea in a Facebook post and watched as the idea snowballed into a movement. D.C. police have now issued a permit for as many as 200,000 people to gather on January 21. Reproductive rights will be foremost on the minds of marchers as the new congress moves ahead with plans to defund Planned Parenthood, but that is far from the only issue. Dianne Krumel is the President of the Democratic Women’s Club in Escambia County. "Every issue is a woman's issue. but it's harder for women. Long how long we [had to wait for the right] to vote." Krumel says they are marching for voting rights, LGBT rights and people with disabilities. "Women fall into all those categories. Everything that has been under assault from the president-elect concerns women. So that is why we are going up there."

Krumel knows of about a dozen people from the area who are making the trip to Washington and there is a bus scheduled to make the run leaving from Tallahassee. Northwest Florida, of course, is a heavily Republican area that voted overwhelming for Donald Trump in the 2016 election. But Kelly Parsons says she feels it’s still important that this part of the state is represented at the march. "Every person has a woman in their life. Whether it's a mother, a sister, a grandmother, a wife, a girlfriend. So, you might be a straight white male but you have someone in your life that's been affected by the disparaging comments from the president-elect. So that's why this matters. Even though we do live in a predominantly conservative area, everyone is going to be affected in the same way whether you voted for the president-elect or not. So I think it's just important for us to stand up and say we're not going to take this rhetoric from our leadership."

According to reports in the Washington Post, Feminist icon Gloria Steinem has recently signed on as a March co-sponsor, and celebrities including Amy Schumer, Samantha Bee and Jessica Chastain say they plan to attend. And organizers say nearly 300 other ‘sister marches’ will take place around the country on Jan. 21 including one at Ferdinand Plaza in Pensacola beginning at 9 a.m.  

Bob Barrett has been a radio broadcaster since the mid 1970s and has worked at stations from northern New York to south Florida and, oddly, has been able to make a living that way. He began work in public radio in 2001. Over the years he has produced nationally syndicated programs such as The Environment Show and The Health Show for Northeast Public Radio's National Productions.