Roaring Fork women prepare to march on Denver, D.C. | PostIndependent.com

Roaring Fork women prepare to march on Denver, D.C.

Carla Jean Whitley
cj@postindependent.com

TO GET INVOLVED

Several events offer an opportunity to march or show support.

Roaring Fork Valley group photo

6 p.m. Thursday

Carbondale Beer Works

Women, men and children who wish to show support and solidarity before the marches will gather for a group photo.

“Half the Sky” movie screening

Thursday, 7:15 p.m.

Crystal Theatre, Carbondale

$20, includes post-event reception and raffle entry; benefits the nonprofit For the Good Period.

Saturday marches:

Alice’s March for Women and Land

9-10 a.m.

The Goat, Carbondale

Million Women Ski & March Aspen

11 a.m.-3 p.m.

11 a.m.: Sign making at Aspen Art Museum

1 p.m.: Meet at Aspen Mountain Plaza to ride gondola up the mountain. The group will ski down in fun attire.

2 p.m.: Regroup in plaza for a walk through town. Hooch Bar will offer discounted après.

Women’s March on Denver

9 a.m.-3 p.m., including a march and rally. A full schedule of speakers and performers is online.

Civic Center Park, Denver

Women’s March on Washington

10 a.m.-5 p.m. EST

Independence Avenue and Third Street SW, Washington, D.C.

They aren’t necessarily political activists. Until recent months, some had never participated in rallies or protests. But this week, Colorado women will march — on Washington, D.C., on Denver, on their hometowns — as a show of support for human rights.

Women’s marches are scheduled in the nation’s capital and across the country to coincide with President-elect Donald J. Trump’s inauguration weekend.

“I’ve always taken my freedoms for granted. I don’t think we can do that anymore,” said Paula Casper, a dental hygienist from New Castle.

Casper couldn’t travel to Washington, but decided to rally friends for Colorado’s official march. On Saturday, two buses carrying 110 women will depart Glenwood Springs Mall for the state capital. Casper estimates the group, which she organized, includes only 20 people she knows.

She and her partner married a little more than a year ago, and that freedom and other human rights motivate her.

“It never occurred to me five years ago that that would happen,” Casper said. “I don’t want that taken away now. I don’t want government to decide what I do with my body.”

Casper contacted Rally Bus, a site that connects people traveling to an event from the same place. A minimum of 27 riders would reserve a bus. Casper emailed a handful of friends and asked them to share information with people in their circles. Quickly, she filled two buses with women from the Roaring Fork Valley. She’s heard from multiple women interested in joining a waiting list, as a third bus isn’t available.

The Denver gathering began as organically as Casper’s trip. Jessica Rogers, a book binder and librarian, connected with fellow March on Denver organizers Cheetah McClellan, a teacher, and real-estate agent Karen Hinkel, after they separately launched Facebook events. The trio first met Nov. 16. Twenty-seven thousand people have since indicated, via Facebook, they’ll attend Saturday’s event. Another 30,000 have expressed interest.

The event will feature 16 female speakers and performers from different backgrounds, meant to uplift and inspire, although some subject matter may be heavy.

“I realized a couple years ago that the America I have access to is completely different from the American experience lots of other people get,” said Rogers, who described herself as a white girl raised in the suburbs. The Friday following the presidential election, she joined friends to pray at a local mosque. “After the election happened, I was really adamant about wanting to put myself in front of whatever was coming down the line for people that already had a different experience and a different access to America.”

Rogers and Casper emphasize that the marches aren’t intended as a protest of the Trump administration, but as a means of empowerment.

“We’re making a statement of vigilance that we are so, so, so protective of the rights we have and we’re going to be so, so, so protective of the communities around us, too,” Rogers said. “My hope is to see a grassroots movement that rivals the tea party in organization, policy and passion.”

Carbondale resident Andrea Chacos likewise felt compelled to march. When she heard about the D.C. event, she quickly booked a flight and lodging — and then she told her husband. She and several friends will travel this weekend to join the national march.

“I’m not a political person. Especially in a small town, it’s hard to draw a line in the sand. We all need each other at different times for different things,” Chacos said. “My place isn’t to tell people where to stand and how to stand. But if we’re going to move forward in the direction we say we want to move, we need to stand together.”

Although Chacos, Rogers and Casper said they haven’t previously been politically active, the country’s political climate prompted them to act.

“When I hear people say there’s nothing we can do about it — yes, there is something we can do about it,” Casper said. “We can have a women’s march.”


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