Women’s March planned in Kalispell

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Kalispell will join dozens of communities across Montana holding a localized Women’s March Jan. 20 in Depot Park in downtown Kalispell.

In January 2017, over 10,000 people joined together for the statewide event in Helena to stand for women’s rights, equality and other issues facing American society. It was estimated that more than 3 million people participated in marches nationwide.

This year, instead of one central gathering at the state’s Capitol, Montana communities have opted to host their own events in hopes of encouraging people to get involved in the issues represented on a local level.

“A lot of people feel isolated and intimidated with getting involved in government,” said Cherilyn DeVries, one of the volunteers helping organize the Kalispell event. “What we’re trying to do is have people understand that they can make a difference locally in politics.”

One issue that DeVries said the event will address is the “Me Too” movement that has gained national attention and support over the past year and led to much discussion about the treatment of women in the workplace and society as a whole.

“Women make up half the population, but we aren’t seeing ourselves represented in government nearly to those levels,” DeVries said. “This is a chance for those women who feel like they’ve been playing a supporting role to see that ‘oh, maybe I could run for office, or maybe my opinion matters.’”

Outside of political matters, DeVries said getting together with a bunch of women is “just a lot of fun” and feels “more like just a big party.”

Rather than an actual march, the event will function more like a rally stationed in Depot Park and will take place from noon to 2 p.m. with speakers beginning at 12:30 p.m.

Event speakers include Jennifer Allen, Theda NewBreast, Kedryn McElderry, Susan Cahill, Helen Weems, Hilary Shaw, Connie Behe, Kwen Shirley and Mona Charles.

The event is free and open to the public, but organizers request that dogs be left at home. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/179873585934121/.

Reporter Mary Cloud Taylor can be reached at 758-4459 or mtaylor@dailyinterlake.com.

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