Local women to take part in Women’s March on Washington

Published 1:10 am Saturday, January 21, 2017

By Jennifer Shrader



While some area residents have gone to Washington, D.C. for the inauguration of President Donald Trump, two women will be in the nation’s capitol Saturday for a different mission.


The Women’s March on Washington takes place today and Katie Harris and Carla Collins will be among the participants.


“I saw a Facebook post from a friend about the event a few days after the (November) election,”  said Collins. “A few days later I began thinking more seriously about the possibility. When I checked airfare and saw it was $59 one way I knew it was a sign I needed to be in the middle of a history-making moment.”


The march, organized by a number of grassroots organizations as a response to the election results, will feature a rally with speakers from the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Rise, the Gathering for Justice, Planned Parenthood, Our Revolution, Moms Rising and other groups, as well as several well-known actresses and other celebrities.


Collins looks forward to the gathering. There are similar marches planned in other cities on Saturday. The date was chosen because it is the first full day of the new presidential administration
“I have been amazed at the number of people I know who are also making the trek to be a part of history and have their voices heard,” she said.
Collins said she’s not worried about her security, which has been heightened in Washington, D.C. with the inauguration, march and other protests.


“When it comes to my safety this weekend, I am not worried at all. It’s not really entered my thoughts unless someone brings it up,” she said. “I know the organizers have many safety protocols  in place and as it is Inaugural weekend, all branches of security are on high alert. I am fortunate to have friends to travel with to DC as well as friends in the area. I have been in touch with them many times in the last weeks to better navigate the metro, streets and crowds.”


The march and rally will  begin near the capitol at Independence Avenue and Third Street.


Collins said it’s her nature to speak out.


“It’s in my DNA to speak up against social injustice, to fight for causes,” she said. “I grew up in the 70’s, the first generation to have role models and influences teaching us, as women, that we had options other than wife and mother. Influences like the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) demonstrations and news articles on Roe v. Wade heading to the Supreme Court shaped my opinions early on that all humans, man or woman, deserve equal footing in this world.”


Some of the policies proposed by the incoming presidential administration and Congress have been viewed as unfriendly to women, minorities and other groups.


“With this election, and the direction of Congressional policies over the past two to three years, I knew it was time to take my activism to the next level,” Collins said.


But she’s not going to protest the Trump presidency.


“I am not going to DC in protest of Trump, I am not in that group of folks saying ‘not my president,’” she said. “This march, and the reason I choose to participate, is to act as a reminder to this new administration that there is  a large  population of this country who are marginalized  and at risk of losing basics civil liberties.”

She plans to keep being active once the march is over.


“On Saturday, and moving forward, I plan using my voice to direct focus to the core unity principals of the march and rally: ending violence, reproductive rights, LGBTQIA rights, workers rights, civil rights, disability rights, immigration rights, and environmental justice,” she said. “In the words of Alexander Hamilton, ‘If you stand for nothing, what will you fall for?’
It’s easy to choose to look the other way, to stay focused on our own lives. Most times the ‘problem’ doesn’t affect us or our family. Until it does. At that point, the damage has been done and it’s a bigger battle to reverse course. We must keep or eyes on the future and make it available to all of us.