Washington, D.C. is a long way to go to protest an election in a foreign country. But on Saturday, Michelle Brewer can’t think of anywhere else she’d rather be.
The Edmonton woman is packing to go south to take part in the Women’s March on Washington.
“I think this is going to be one of those momentous things that one goes through in a lifetime,” Brewer says. “And I get to be a part of it.”
The march happens one day after Donald Trump is sworn in as the United States’ 45th president.
Organizers are preparing for more than 200,000 people to take part.
They say they’re marching because rhetoric from the recent U.S. election has “insulted, demonized and threatened many of us.” They’re referring to things said about groups including women, immigrants and Muslims.
Brewer doesn’t like Trump. She has a giant “Hillary Clinton” button that she wore regularly during the election. But she isn’t travelling simply to protest Trump. She says she’s most concerned about what she has heard from Trump and those who support him.
Watch below: Washington Post obtains video showing Donald Trump making vulgar comments about women.
“Trump maybe reflects a polarization on one hand but on the other hand, he emboldens when he says the things he does,” Brewer says.
To her, that issue affects the United States and countries all over the world and that is the reason she wants to lend her voice to the thousands protesting the new U.S. president.
While by far the biggest, the Washington rally isn’t the only protest slated for Saturday.
About 300 “sister marches” around the world are also planned, including one in Edmonton.
A Facebook page for the event shows about 700 people plan to attend.
Paula Kirman, who is one of the local rally’s organizers, says it’s important to show solidarity with American protesters but that there are also good reasons to march here.
“We have very specifically Canadian and Albertan reasons for doing this,” Kirman says.
She points to recent cases of misogynistic language directed at female politicians.
MLA Sandra Jansen left the PC Party leadership race after saying she felt targeted and harassed by people in the camps of rival candidates.
She then crossed the floor to the NDP. Shortly after that, Jansen stood in the legislature and read messages sent to her. They called her “another blonde bimbo” and suggested she “stay in the kitchen where she belongs.”
Watch below: In a member statement to the house in November 2016, Alberta MLA Sandra Jansen recounted some of the comments she said have been directed to her since she crossed the floor to the NDP from the Progressive Conservatives. Jansen said she’s been called some terrible things, which she listed.
Jansen’s ordeal weighs heavily on rally organizers.
“We need to look at what’s going on here in Alberta – where there have been a number of female politicians who have been bullied and harassed,” says Kirman, who hopes the rallies are the first step towards ensuring “that kind of language and those kinds of attitudes don’t permeate society and don’t dominate beliefs.”
Both Kirman and Brewer say the interest in these rallies encourages them. They’ve watched as the expected turnout to the Washington rally has grown. They’ve watched as the planned Canadian marches went from 10 to 25. Kirman says it gives her “hope that our society is heading in the right direction.”
“I go back to Martin Luther King,” Brewer says. “I really hope the “I have a dream” speech with 250,000 people changed things and we can have that same kind of excitement and momentum.”
Edmonton’s rally will be held outside the Alberta legislature on Saturday at 1 p.m.
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