Groups of local Corvallis residents rallied outside of the Corvallis Municipal Courthouse on Saturday, joining thousands of women across the country as they protested the recent supreme court nomination and the current administration’s denial of climate change.
Led by Amy Hunter, organizer and Corvallis resident, the march was initially created because she had not been able to find a way to participate in the national effort unless she drove to Portland.
“I thought, it’d be great to have one in Corvallis and [the City] provided a lot of the tools to get started,” Hunter said.
The march started at 11 a.m., while Hunter’s group of volunteers handed out extra signs to participants and sold tee shirts with the slogan “Belligerent Optimist” for a $20 donation, that of which went to the National Organization of Women, Mid-Willamette chapter.
Kate Feldman, volunteer, was working at the booth selling tee-shirts and giving out masks. This is not the first time that Feldman, 74, showed up to advocate for women's rights.
“I’ve been involved in women’s rights forever,” Feldman said. “I woke up one day and I was a woman. No, but you know, I’m 74. Women’s rights were not always [talked about]. I had to wear skirts to school... I went to art school and had a teacher who told me ‘Boy, your art skills are really strong for a woman.’ I had no idea what he was talking about.”
Feldman mentioned how interwoven the community was, and how many members of the group gathered outside the courthouse, had also been there at the first national Women’s March in 2016.
Among those protesting this year, were both men and women of the community, some of whom were students at Oregon State University.
“I think it’s just important to show support for our women,” said Nick Pilaniv, OSU sophomore, and Dylan Gwaltney, Corvallis resident. “Everyone’s equal, and we should support everyone. It helps that we’re out here.”
Hunter and many other protestors said that it is more important than ever to support women’s right to equality, given the political climate. The Corvallis Climate Action alliance joined the march as partners, which Hunter believes is due to the connection between the two issues.
“What this administration is doing affects climate change,” Hunter said. “Women, as the primary caretakers of this society, all these things fall on our shoulders… especially when our wages aren't the same, we get paid lower, a lot of women are on the front lines of this pandemic as essential workers, and also having to care of folks at home. So, there's a lot of reasons why women need to rise up, stand up, and make sure that their voices are counted”.