Women's March in Spokane draws 3,000, speakers offer insights at rally
Before more than 3,000 joined in the 2019 Women's March from the Convention Center through Riverfront Park, speakers offered insights for those gathered.
Power 2 The Poetry poets Bethany Montgomery and Sabby Votino opened with the words: "Feminism isn't about women being better than men, it is supported on the base that women are just as good as them." read Bethany.
"Everyone deserves to be treated equal no matter what gender. The stereotypes are teaching girls that they are less than and not equal to men....
"I will accomplish my goals and be living proof that women can follow their dreams and do anything we put our minds to."
Naghmana Ahmed-Sherazi, an educator and scientist born in Karachi, Pakistan, came to Spokane in 2012 as a single mother and saw no one of her heritage at first. Now she finds community through involvement with the Spokane Islamic Center, Spokane Sisterhood, Faith Leaders and Leaders of Conscience, the Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane and Spokane Faith and Values.
She meets for potlucks with the Spokane Sisterhood—Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Jewish and Christian women of different ethnicities.
"We connect around food," she said, "sharing our values and stories, educating each other so we stand up for each other's rights."
"When I became a citizen, I promised to respect the laws and to contribute," said Naghmana, commenting that the judge who swore her in among 36 people from 26 countries said: "Go and make the community better, be involved, run for office, become legislators."
She worked in 2018 to block Proposition 1, a proposal that would have allowed any city employee to ask anyone for their documents, and helped start the No Discrimination Spokane Campaign with the Hispanic Business and Professional Association, which along with the Asian Pacific Islanders and the NAACP ,have adopted her, she said.
"Their issues are my issues. We stand together," she said.
Rachelle Strawther, director of leadership training and development at Gonzaga University, said that as she accompanies women leaders on their journey at Gonzaga, she finds a common theme for many: self-doubt.
"Even women who are highly regarded have an internal monologue that they are not good, pretty or educated enough. Many studies say that women have lower confidence than men," she said.
"Lack of confidence can make women feel they are not qualified to run for office. Imagine if we had more confidence. Self-doubt conditions us to say, 'You can't do that.' Research shows that while women may underestimate our abilities, men may overestimate their abilities," she said.
Rachelle suggested some ways women can build confidence:
• "When the internal monologue says 'I can't do it' or 'I'm not good enough,' refute it with counter evidence from your life, she said.
• When the monologue emerges, women can push through the self-doubt by focusing on the impact they want to have.
• Citing studies by a Harvard researcher, she suggested assuming the "strong powerful stance" with arms in the air or the "wonder woman stance" with a hand on the hip to reduce stress just before a difficult task.
Norma Heredia of NARAL, a feminist advocate of social and political rights, said five months ago her parents received their permanent legal resident cards.
Growing up, she felt her family was at risk, so she did not share about their status. She is also upset at how media portray people like them as "illegal aliens," when her parents got up at 4 a.m. to pick apples, cherries and pears.
Today when she sees those fruits, she knows their hard work, sweat and tears to make an honorable living.
If they had been deported, Norma as the oldest would have had to care for her younger sisters.
Another taboo was talking to her mother about sex. All her mother would say is "Don't do it." Her sex education came through her teen peers.
"It's important to work for reproductive rights. If we want fewer unwanted pregnancies, we need to teach sex education," said Norma, who does sex education in the Mexican community.
Danetta "DG" Garcia, an Air Force vet and civil rights advocate from California, now living at Liberty Lake, said, "We have talked about being vulnerable, women's rights, being raped outside the door, and men not caring about women, but men do stand up for women."
She called men in the room forward to say to the women there: "We've got your back!"
For information, check Women's March Spokane on Facebook.
Copyright@ The Fig Tree, February, 2019