Cordova joins nationwide voice in Women’s March

87 people march on Main Street in support of women’s rights

A crowd of about 87 people gather in the center of Main Street for a group photo during the Women’s March in Cordova on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018. Photo by Emily Mesner/The Cordova Times

Eighty-seven men, women and children marched on Main Street on Saturday, Jan. 20, joining nationwide demonstrations for women’s rights, proving that no voice is too small.

On the anniversary of the inauguration of Donald Trump, when millions took to the streets of America to demand social change, the march this time echoed the importance of women’s rights and getting out to vote.

“We all know one another; our kids go to school together, we have to get along for the sake of our community,” said Erica Thompson-Clark, organizer of the Cordova Families for Social Justice March/Women’s March 2.0. “We are just trying to speak openly and share what our views are. We can have differing opinions but we’re all in this together.”

Many of those who marched spoke about Cordova’s acceptance of differing views and attributed it to the small size of their community.

“When I moved to Cordova I found a little bit more freethinking community,” Thompson-Clark said. “I definitely found an acceptance of differing views and that’s what I really like here.”

Buddhist Priest Kelley Weaverling helped organize the event alongside Thompson-Clark.

“Yesterday, when I was walking with Erica, making rough plans for this thing, she was pushing a stroller with two children, a little dog, taking time to nurse one of them, trying to keep the other one from running into the ice on the lake and planning an event at the same time and I thought, ‘S..t! Why don’t we elect more women?’,” Weaverling said.

The crowd listened intently as Weaverling spoke after the march.

“All we can do is the best we can, with what we got, at the time, where we are,” Weaverling said. “You have to do what you can because inaction has just as much consequence as action.”

Weaverling finished his speech with a note of advice that had the crowd laughing: “Take the high road and let the farts blow away in the wind.”

He stayed behind, gathering the orange safety cones set out for the march.

“I mean look at this, this is wonderful,” he said as he watched people talk with one another joyfully.

Eventually everyone dispersed, taking photos with friends and family, proudly holding up their signs and giving thanks to Thompson-Clark from across the parking lot.

“I’m really excited that this is happening here,” Rona Haberman said. “Even though we’re not a hundred thousand people we still have people in rural communities who are willing to advocate for what they think is right.”

Haberman is no stranger to marches, having advocated and marched in Washington D.C. prior to her move to Cordova. It wasn’t until she was older and had formed her own opinions that her mother revealed her activism in the civil rights movement, something that makes Haberman smile as she talks about it.

“Things that have changed socially and the political climate in the last year has made me more aware and made me realize how much my kids are being affected,” Cathy Pegau said as she talked with Haberman.

The two emphasized the need to be aware and respectful of differing opinions, but to also maintain your own voice in hopes of making an informed decision in upcoming elections.

“You have to be political. You have to be involved, or at least aware of what’s going on,” Pegau said.

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Emily Mesner is a staff reporter and photographer for The Cordova Times. Reach her at emesner@thecordovatimes.com. Emily graduated from Central Michigan University, earning a degree in photojournalism with a cultural competency certificate. She first visited Alaska in 2016, working as a media intern for the National Park Service in Kotzebue and Denali National Park and Preserve, and has been coming back ever since. To see more photos, follow @thecordovatimes and @emilymesnerphoto on Instagram.