Simpson: Women’s March exemplified self-determination, dignity and respect

To the Editor:

Mr. Darrow’s rant about the La Grande Women’s March for Truth and Justice being a “bunch of angry people distracting motorists” was not unexpected (“Progressives are own worst enemies” by Grant Darrow, The Observer, Feb. 4). Some people are not comfortable with Max Square being used as a center of free speech — a place to talk about what we believe is important.

These are my thoughts from my position as 2018 Union County Progressive March Coordinator:

Union County Progressives are united in opposition to threats against American democracy.

We organized the march because no other group stepped forward so women’s voices could be heard.

More than 300 people marched carrying creative homemade posters and signs (check out the new display of young women’s posters at Cook Memorial Library).

Many adults and some older children stayed in Max Square to listen to the program, including more than a dozen women who traveled from Baker City.

Max Square speakers came from these well respected community organizations: Oregon Rural Action, Shelter From the Storm, Fourth Street Churches, EOU Multicultural Center, SEIU Labor Union, Baker City POPEO (Power of People: Eastern Oregon), Union County Democrats and Union County Progressives.

National March “Unity Principles” were celebrated at the La Grande Women’s March and in communities across the nation in what has been called one of the largest demonstrations ever held in the U.S. The Women’s March is committed to dismantling systems of oppression through nonviolent resistance and building inclusive structures guided by self-determination, dignity and respect.

Union County Progressives believe in and celebrate the political power of diverse women and their communities to create transformative social change for environmental justice, reproductive rights, LGBTQIA rights, workers’ rights, civil rights, disability rights, immigrant rights, ending violence and health care for all people in Oregon.

I urge people who attended the march to respond to Mr. Darrow’s comment about “seething hatred, bigotry and sexism” exhibited by Progressives. I did not see a “bunch of angry people distracting motorists” at the Jan. 20 La Grande Women’s March — I did see families, couples, elders and children united in celebration of women seeking a better world for us all.

Cheryl Simpson

La Grande

Moore: He must’ve been at a different march

To the Editor:

I write to take issue with some statements made regarding the Jan. 20 Women’s March by Grant Darrow in his article entitled “Progressives are own worst enemies.”

First of all, I wonder if he actually participated in the same march as I did in La Grande.

I certainly did not recognize his depiction of what occurred. His blanket statements about the participants, the speeches and subjects are not only false and misleading but only go to perpetuate the very “seething hatred, bigotry and sexism” he accused the so-called “progressives” of having.

This was the second march put together in La Grande and my first time participating.

I was impressed with the orderliness and quiet respect shown by all the participants who appeared to come from all walks of life. I myself could not relate in any way to the blanket stereotypes he portrayed. Of course, many subjects, especially controversial ones, were not discussed and no, not all women were necessarily present. Maybe it was by their own choice and that is okay.

It was my experience and understanding that anyone could join the march and in no way were women “selectively profiled and picked.” As a woman of faith, I certainly was not.

I commend those who organized the march in La Grande and hope to see it continue as women need to be able to express their views without the risk of being accused of being “a bunch of angry people distracting motorists.”

Pamela W. Moore

La Grande