Bend’s Drake Park was filled Saturday with protesters, many wearing pink knitted hats and holding signs above their heads, ready to walk in solidarity through downtown streets as part of the second annual Women’s March.
The crowd, nearly as large as the 3,000-plus who marched here last year, joined millions of others in cities around the world.
Many participants marched in support of women’s rights and for changes to immigration and health care policies. But most of the focus in Bend and across the world was to denounce President Donald Trump on a day that happened to be the one-year anniversary of his inauguration.
As marchers massed in Drake Park, they held signs that read, “Love Trumps Hate,” “Dump Trump” and “History is Watching.”
Despite different motivations and messages Saturday, the march offered a place for everyone to gather and share what is important to them, said Bend resident Renee Patrick, who works for the Bend conservation organization Oregon Natural Desert Association.
“It’s inspiring to see everyone come together a year in,” she said. “Our enthusiasm for change is here, and we’ll stand up until we make a difference.”
Bend resident Sara Freedman, a web communications specialist at OSU-Cascades, marched in support of equality and to fight against the double-standards that exist in the workplace, such as a man being called, “strong and assertive” while a woman would be called “bossy” for the same actions, she said.
She held a sign reading, “I am not: ‘A ball buster,’ ‘A handful,’ ‘Opinionated;’ I am equal.”
Freedman attended the march Saturday with her sister, Mindy Brook, and Brook’s 9-year-old daughter, Grace.
Grace held a sign that read, “The future is me.” A young boy nearby carried a sign with a similar message: “Future voter in support of women.”
Sunriver resident Cindy McConnell, a retired Newport High School teacher, said she felt a bit frustrated having to protest the same issues as last year.
But McConnell, a member of “Staying Connected,” a Sunriver group that formed after the Women’s March last year, said she also felt optimistic about all the people voicing their opinions, especially the younger ones.
“We need the young people to get invested in what’s happening,” McConnell said. “It’s their future we are worried about.”
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