By Brenda Willis, Toledo
On Jan. 21, I stood outside the Hallmark Resort, after counting o• 250 marchers who had arrived first in the Stronger Together March in Newport. I raised my hands and voice to stop anyone else from entering. I yelled and the crowd repeated my words. It was the only way to be heard outside in Oregon’s wind.
“We have a delightful problem.” Repeat. “There are 1,600 marchers” Cheers and repeat. “The Hallmark Resort is a great partner with us, and only 250 can be inside at any one time.”
I say thank you to the marchers who were the stardust blessing Newport and each other on that day. You cheered when we sent you to port-a-potties instead of inside for co•ee and cookies. You moved across the street and listened to spontaneous speeches, line by line. Who came? Locals. Portlanders, Californians, moms, daughters, wives, husbands, sons, dads, single and married, gay, straight, transgender, questioning, Latina, black, Asian, native, white: Americans all. We marched alone and holding hands, pushing babies and walkers, “first time” and “long time” marchers. A former Lincoln County resident rode a bus from Albany. Some decided to march after watching President Trump’s inauguration. Others signed up weeks before. We expected 400, then four times that arrived. Estimates are that 5 million human beings marched together around the world on Jan. 21.
I want to thank each marcher, each citizen, and I celebrate the safe, peaceful and strong way each of you participated in the march. Our keynote speaker, Jenn Burleton, of TransActiveOnline.org, challenged us: “Can we fight together and not fight each other?”
Please be stronger together as you join others and write your elected o• cials, stay informed and get involved somewhere. Let’s make democracy work in Lincoln County, in Oregon, and in the United States of America. It was an honor to see you and learn some of your stories.
Letter to the Editor, Newport News Times, January 27, 2017, A6