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Indivisible We Rise holds women’s march in Clarion

The Clarion Call report

On Saturday, Jan. 19, Indivisible We Rise West Central PA held a Women’s March in coordination with over 300 other marches that were happening in cities around the world on that same day. These marches were to commemorate the Women’s March in Washington in 2017.

Attendees of the march met at the gazebo in the Veteran’s Memorial Park at 1 p.m. After a short prayer, Mayor Daniel Parker spoke briefly about celebrating our beliefs and defending the common good.

After Mayor Parker finished speaking, the march began. Attendees marched to the Clarion Free Library on Main St. Attendees carried signs and chanted along the way. Some of the chants included: “Build bridges, not walls!” and “The people united, will never be divided!” On the way to the library, the attendees of the Clarion march was joined by attendees of the Oil City march. Upon reaching the Clarion Free Library, the attendees paused at the library’s steps to take photos.

Upon entering the library, the attendees were met with music. They told that they could sit in chairs that were provided, and could help themselves to refreshments, which were also provided. They were also told that, due to the weather, three of the speakers that were scheduled to speak at the library were unable to attend. This part of the march would be kept short, again due to the weather.

The first speaker was Marlene Austin, the director of Passages. She started by saying that she was thankful for being able to speak to the attendees that day.

She spoke about sexual violence and abuse, saying that “conversations about sexual violence are on the rise,” due to the “Me Too” movement, and other such movements. She said that the CDC calls sexual violence an epidemic. She continued by saying that “It touches everyone in some way,” that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are victims of sexual abuse, and that it is done almost always by someone who the victim knows.

She said that if you pay attention to the news every day, you’ll see it, and to remember that those are only the cases that have been reported.

Austin said, “We have the power to make change happen.” She then continued by saying that there are four steps to combating the epidemic of sexual violence and abuse. The first step is to educate ourselves about the issue, that the second step is to relay the information of the issue to the community, that the third step is to always check government policies and bills, and that the fourth and last step is to form groups to either oppose or support these policies and bills.

Austin ended my saying that “we need to take the first step,” and that “it’s not quick and easy.”

She then thanked the attendees for coming.

After Austin finished speaking, a second song was sung. This time it was “One Voice” by The Wailin’ Jennys.

The next speaker was Dr. Janina Jolley, professor of developmental psychology. She said that she was taking the place of Dr. Catherine Adams, who could not attend due to the weather. She said that Dr. Adams was supposed to talk about the policy of separating immigrant and refugee children from their families.

Dr. Jolley then said that “It doesn’t take a PhD to know that the policy of separating children from their families is wrong.” She said that there are three stages that a child goes through when they lose their parents.

The first stage is a mild anxiety and panic. In the second stage, the child gives up hope that they will be reunited with their family. Lastly, the third stage is the appearance of recovery, when, the child does not trust anyone. Jolley said that this separation also has long term consequences, one example of which being that the child can’t control their emotions. She ended by urging the attendees to contact the government to end this policy.

After Dr. Jolley finished, “Wayfaring Stranger” by Johnny Cash was played.

The fourth and final speaker was another one of the hosts. She said “we are all immigrants,” and that “the policy of separation needs to stop.” She also said to use Resistbot to send a message to congress, by texting “RESIST” or “CONGRESS” to 50409. She ended by quoting Martin Luther King Jr. by saying: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

After the final speaker finished, Ann Liska, the director of Campus Ministry for Clarion University, gave a benediction, which she called a “commissioning prayer.”

After Liska finished, a final song was sung. It was “Dona Nobis Pacem,” which means “Bring Us Peace” in Latin.

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