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Idaho Women's March 2018 Focused on Inclusion, Continued Activism

"I want to make saving the world part of all your lives."


Approximately 3,000 people lined steps of the Idaho State Capitol on Jan. 21, gathered there for the Idaho Women's March. Organizer Colette Raptosh, who co-founded the event in 2017, spoke on activism and the legacy of the event in its second year.

"I want to make saving the world part of all your lives," Raptosh told the crowd.

Other speakers reflected on solidarity, discussing a range of social justice issues such as acknowledging indigenous cultures, LGBT rights, immigration reform and protecting women's reproductive rights.

Newly-elected Boise City Councilwoman Lisa Sanchez spoke about the importance of authentic and inclusive social activism. She said much remains to be done and questioned the staying power of "visual movements" like pink pussy hats and safety pins, saying it is ultimately an individual's actions, rather than his or her clothing, that determines activism.

"We can do better," Sanchez said.

In a later interview with Boise Weekly, Sanchez clarified some of the comments she made during her speech at the Women's March, including those about the Native American-themed musical act by Lisa Stravers that opened the rally. Sanchez said her remarks were not a criticism of Stravers, but were intended as a "show of compassion to people who needed me to advocate for them."

"I was in the crowd at the beginning of the rally and surrounded by women from the Fort Hall Reservation, and as soon as the music began, the women were taken aback," Sanchez said. "They turned to me, and it was a source of pain for a lot of them: to come to Boise on a day that was supposed to be about unity, and to see somebody from the outside community appropriating...they asked me...'Please say something during your talk.'"

- Tai Simpson said the Women's March is dedicated to being inclusive. -  - HARRISON BERRY
  • Harrison Berry
  • Tai Simpson said the Women's March is dedicated to being inclusive.
Tai Simpson, who offered an invocation at the first Women's March in January 2017, returned to the Capitol steps with a large read sign that read, "#MMIW [Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women] Justice For Our Indigenous Sisters." Simpson echoed Sanchez's sentiment, saying she was at the march to remind people that Boise was settled on Native American land. She and the organizers of the Women's March, she said, are "dedicated to making this as inclusive an event as possible."

Mistie Tolman, legislative director for Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii, said progress is happening, with more women running for elected office—in Idaho and elsewhere—than ever before. They're fighting, she said, against elected officials who seek to roll back gains for women, people of color, the LGBT community, people with disabilities and more.

"They are tired of politicians like [President] Donald Trump and Mike Pence trying to take control over women's bodies," she said.

In her remarks, which concluded the demonstration, former Idaho legislator Nicole LeFavour renewed a call for political action, imploring attendees to vote in primary elections and show up on voting day.

"We have to vow now. Nothing will make us stay home," she said.