Around 100 North Tahoe locals gathered at the Eagle Statue on Donner Pass Road in downtown Truckee on Saturday, Jan. 18, for the fourth annual Women’s March. Inspired to take political and civic action, attendees’ reasons for taking to the streets ranged from climate action to legal equality, from immigration to unifying a polarized country.

Local activist Mimi Shoop was inspired by the energy in Truckee. “I’m really pleased to see the turnout today because it is so important we turn this country around,” Shoop said. “I’ve gone to Sacramento in the past because the huge crowd there is so inspiring, but this year I thought, well, I’ll stick with my own town and see how that goes. 28 degrees, but worth it. I stood out in the snow for Obama so I figured I could do this.”

Before the march, speakers from active local groups addressed the onlookers, starting with John Henry Beyer of the Citizens Climate Lobby, followed by Elizabeth Balmin of Sierra Community House, and Anne-Flore Perroud of Truckee’s Indivisible group. The representatives encouraged the crowd to continue to press for civil discourse and take action on human rights issues.

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On Jan. 15, Virginia became the pivotal 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), meaning three-fourths of U.S. state legislatures have ratified it, which is the threshold the constitution requires for an amendment to become law. Originally introduced in 1923 and re-introduced in 1972, the ERA’s purpose is to ensure equal legal rights regardless of sex. However, some legislators are arguing that the timeline has expired, so the future of the ERA is still hanging in the balance.

Some North Tahoe citizens are concerned about the state of equality across the board, and the march represented the intersectionality of racial, identity, and socioeconomic inequities with gender equality. Leslie Wood is 62 and lived through the sixties, saying at the march she thinks back to “what I think of as Martin Luther King Jr.’s quote, ‘The arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice.’ I always thought we were moving in the direction of civil discourse, equal opportunities, and equal rights, fairness, and health care for all. And the last three years has just been a shock to the system.”

MARCHING FOR PROGRESS: Leslie and Adeline Wood proudly marched to stand up against bigotry and hate. Photo by Molly Wilcox/ Moonshine Ink

Her wife and partner of 30 years, Adeline Wood, chimed in on their personal connection to the fight: “As a gay person, they are trying to make it so that my wife and I can go to a food counter and they can deny service. I can be in the emergency room in a life-threatening situation and they could refuse to treat us, even with our medical credentials, because of their religious beliefs. And if that continues, they’ll threaten our marriage again and we’ve been together 30 years.”

Elizabeth Balmin, director of mediation and legal assistance at Sierra Community House, spoke to the crowd about immigration rights. After the march she said, “What I talked about this morning was our efforts to support immigrants in our community, because in addition to family separation at the border, what we’re seeing is a real increase, since the election, in concerns about family separation in our communities.”

Sierra Community House’s goal is for families to know their legal rights and to provide tools to submit successful applications for immigration, so that they can get their lawful status to live, work, and study in the United States.

After the 2016 election, the nonprofit saw a huge increase in immigration concern in the area, so they started to increase critical services. They now have a certified immigration specialist on staff who can provide free immigration services like helping people with their applications to get their citizenship and green card.

Community member Chris Klose talked about the importance of voting in the Democratic primary in March and the national election in November for the presidency and as well as local government.

“How crazy is it that the man that represents both Lake Tahoe and Yosemite is a climate denier?” asked Klose. “McClintock’s values are 180 degrees opposite of mine, and, you know, that’s what a democracy is, sometimes that happens. But how crazy is it that one of the most pristine places in the world [is] not being protected by the person who’s lawmaking?”

Her husband, Paul Klose, added, “We’re out here today for our own beliefs, but also because we have two granddaughters, and with women’s rights opportunities and climate change, we want to leave the world a better place for them than it looks like it’s going to be now.”

The first Women’s March in 2017 saw roughly 4 million people show up across the country, yielding the largest single-day protest in U.S. history.

Truckee local Raughley Koehler said the important thing four years into these marches and this movement is momentum. “We just found out on Wednesday that Virginia ratified the ERA, and it’s very exciting,” she said at the march. “I want to keep the women’s movement alive, I want people to be passionate about voting in March and in November, and I think that our daughters and granddaughters would be well-served by us keeping up the fight.”

Sarah Green, a nonprofit consultant in town primarily dealing with education and environmental stewardship, summed up the discourse of the day: “It comes down to just being nicer to each other and taking better care of the planet; taking a step back from our crazy lives and realizing what’s important. Coming together like this for a women’s march or climate strikes is so important because it reminds you that there is hope.”

PARADING THE STREETS: The marchers chanted, “Hey hey, ho ho, all this hate has got to go!” Photo by Molly Wilcox/ Moonshine Ink

Main Image Caption: TRUCKEE WOMEN’S MARCH: North Tahoe residents gathered in downtown Truckee on Donner Pass Road to march for climate action, civil equality, and ethical immigration. Photo by Molly Wilcox/ Moonshine Ink

Author

  • Molly Wilcox

    A San Francisco transplant, MOLLY WILCOX is exploring a full-time commitment to her love of writing and the outdoors. When she’s not on the slopes in winter or on the water in summer, writing, reading, and long conversations entertain her. As the new office manager and reporter at Moonshine, she’s hoping to merge her passions for creativity and the world around her, while getting to know the Tahoe community.

    Connect with Molly

    Call: (530) 587-3607 x1
    Visit:
    M-Tu, Th-Fr 9:30am - 6pm
    10317 Riverside Dr
    Truckee, CA 96161
    Email: molly (at) moonshineink.com

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