Women, men ready to march

Allison Arthur aarthur@ptleader
Posted 1/10/17

First, there was one bus. Then there were two buses. Then three.

Now there are four buses of women and men from Jefferson County heading to Seattle Jan. 21 to march in solidarity with the …

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Women, men ready to march

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First, there was one bus. Then there were two buses. Then three.

Now there are four buses of women and men from Jefferson County heading to Seattle Jan. 21 to march in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington, taking place that same day in Washington, D.C.

There are also men and women from Jefferson County heading to the D.C. event, which is timed to take place on the day after the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as the United States’ 45th president.

And there are men and women who are staying home in Jefferson County and planning to assemble that day.

“It’s amazing. It’s very historic,” said Debbi Steele, founder of the Fund for Women and Girls of Jefferson County. “And that doesn’t count car pools,” she said of the more than 190 passengers going to to the Seattle march by bus.

Jefferson County’s bus-to-Seattle idea was started by Anita Edwards, who sent out an email to friends, asking if they wanted to go to the Seattle march with her. A charter bus company in Port Angeles was called and a 24-passenger bus secured.

A day later, that bus was full, and organizers asked for a 36-passenger bus. By the end of the week, organizers had arranged for three buses, including one that can seat 51.

“We don’t have any more drivers. You have to stop,” Steele said the charter bus owner told her. But by Monday, the company had found another bus, and it was to be half full, Steele said. Or full, period, by the end of the day.

“We are also adding people from Sequim who are joining our buses,” Steele said. “I could do another bus if I could find another company.”

It’s not only women who are heading to Seattle to join the march. It’s also men. Steele estimates that there are about 20 men who have joined their wives or the entourage in general, including her husband, Dennis Daneau.

“It’s because of what Martin Luther King Jr. said, that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. It makes me cry. I believe that women’s justice is being threatened by the direction politics seem to be going,” Steele said.

Steele said many women have died over the years to secure rights for other women.

“We haven’t come a long way, baby, we’ve come a ways,” she said.

Daneau said Jan. 9 that Steele went to bed needing to answer 45 emails and woke up to more than 80 email requests.

Now out of buses, Steele and Edwards are organizing carpools.

BANNER EVENTS

Edwards hosted a banner-making party at her home in Port Townsend on Sunday, Jan. 8.

“What matters to me at the moment is to make some noise for the values I believe in and this seems like a good start,” Edwards said.

“I’m marching because in the current political environment, I just want to stand up very publicly for the values I believe in: diversity, inclusiveness, equity, access to health care for all, not just the rich, access to quality education for all, not just the rich, a justice system that treats all people fairly,” Edwards said.

More than 30 men and women showed up to help construct a quilt-like banner that Edwards designed with letters in red, white and black on a gray background.

It was also a time for the men and women to get to know each other, drink wine, talk politics and learn new sewing skills.

The buses are set to leave from the Haines Place Park-and-Ride at 7 a.m., in time to take a ferry to Seattle and connect with others at Judkins Park and Playfield.

As of Monday, Steele said that between the buses and carpools, her group had signed up 250 people to go to the Seattle march, and it welcomes more.

Another sign-making event is planned for 4-5:30 p.m., Monday, Jan. 16 at Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Port Townsend.

WASHINGTON, D.C.

Thirty people from Jefferson County are heading to Washington, D.C., for the march on Jan. 21. They are going separately, arriving via planes from Baltimore, New Jersey and New York.

Organizer Michelle Sandoval said Jan. 9 that while the women are heading to D.C. independently, they plan on meeting up once they get there. And they are planning to have emergency contacts with each other, should “it not be a happy situation.”

Three young people – Mollie West, young journalist Josh Kelety and Dylan Nichol, all of Port Townsend – already have places to stay in D.C., but they still need plane tickets to get there, Sandoval said. Sandoval began the task of looking for funding on Jan. 9.

“They all have places to stay. We’re just trying to get money or [air] miles at this point,” Sandoval said.

Lela Hilton is one of the women venturing to D.C. She’s taking her daughter, Anna Daeuble, the mother of a 4-year-old son.

“When we discussed the idea of going together, she said that she wanted to be able to tell her son six or eight years from now, when he asked what she had done in response to Donald Trump being elected, that she flew across the country with his grandmother (me) to stand up for what she believed in,” Hilton wrote in an email.

Hilton said she had planned on taking her daughter to D.C. as a surprise gift, and she had hoped that it would be to the inauguration of the first woman president.

“When Trump won, I still felt it was important to go and stand up for what we believe in – civil rights, human rights, environmental justice, etc.,” she said.

Hilton said that both of her children protested with her against the wars in Iraq, and she recalled demonstrating against Vietnam and for civil rights as a young woman.

Sonja Schoenleber, 77, of Port Townsend isn’t planning to go to D.C. with any group, though she is hoping to connect with Sandoval’s group once she’s in D.C. Schoenleber is traveling to D.C. with her daughters, who live in Aberdeen and Seattle.

When asked why she is attending the march, she replied, “Why? Because I’m so upset. It’s my way of protest. I’m just so concerned about what’s going to happen with this person taking over the White House.

“What I’m really concerned about is the Supreme Court justices and getting rid of Roe v. Wade and not funding Planned Parenthood. I don’t want to see women go into the back alley. We have a right to control our own bodies and family planning.”

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