Women’s March supports new constitutional amendment

Movement is nonpartisan say organizers

The Cordova Women’s March departs the Cordova Center. (Jan. 18, 2020) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times

Saturday, Jan. 18, the Cordova Women’s March took to the streets in support of the Equal Rights Amendment. The ERA is a proposed constitutional amendment guaranteeing legal rights for Americans regardless of sex.

A constitutional amendment must be ratified by at least 38 of the 50 states to take effect. Jan. 15, Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the ERA, though it remains to be determined whether states that previously ratified the amendment will be able to rescind their approval. Alaska ratified the ERA in 1972, during a previous effort to pass the amendment that ultimately fell three states short of the threshold.

Cordova’s fourth Women’s March drew around 30 participants, who traversed First Street holding placards in support of women’s rights and the ERA. Participation was greater this year than last year, despite the march being held simultaneous to the Cordova Tip-Off Basketball Tournament.

The Cordova Women’s March is a nonpartisan effort, focused on issues rather than party politics, said organizers.

“We’ve heard responses like, ‘I’m pro-life, so I can’t march,’ or, ‘I’m pro-Trump, so I can’t march,’” said lead organizer Kara Johnson. “This is not an anti-administration march … Equality doesn’t care what your political persuasion is.”

Five-year-old Teague Webber was the youngest participant in the march. Webber’s enthusiasm was undiminished even after slipping over twice on icy pavement.

Teague Webber, 5, was the youngest participant in the Cordova Women’s March. (Jan. 18, 2020) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times

“Women are helpful and nice,” declared Webber, who identified his mother as the most important woman in his life. Webber’s mother, Prince William Sound Science Center President and CEO Katrina Hoffman, accompanied him on the march.

The march was joined by other community fixtures, including ex-mayor and Zen lay priest Kelly Weaverling and former director of the Copper River Watershed Project Kristin Carpenter.

“It’s such a critical time for women to speak up,” Carpenter said. “One hundred years after women got the right to vote, we’re just on the verge of passing the ERA. It just shows how slow the pace of change is.”

Carpenter said she hoped residents would reflect on the importance of initiatives like the Children’s Health Insurance Program and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

“All of these are really important for mid-to-low-income families,” Carpenter said. “Women are always on the front line, trying to hold it all together, so those are all important points of support.”