Missoula women share thoughts on march in Helena

Missoula Current

Hundreds of women from Missoula traveled to Helena on Saturday to promote tolerance and  inclusiveness, and to stand in unity for human rights. Some also attended to send the new Trump administration a strong message. We asked for their thoughts and why they participated, and here’s a wide collection of the responses we received.

Submitted by Shelley Barrett-Catton

Shelly Barrett-Catton

“It was powerful and moving to be with thee generations of women and men in my family and 10,000 people from around Montana marching for human rights.  There are so many rights which I have taken for granted which could be in jeopardy.  The march was a rallying cry to be complacent no more.”

Joanna Smetanka

“I want to send a message that misogyny, bigotry, racism and sexism will not be tolerated.”

Becca Nasgovitz

“I believe in equal rights and wanted to be part of a positive political movement in this upsetting climate.”

Jennifer Stepanwolf

“WE marched today to unify: to come together and share our common beliefs and respect for women’s rights and human rights as a whole. To make it known that sexism, racism and hate are unacceptable. To share our common values and love for all people in this country and around the world.”

Submitted by Joanna Smetanka, Becca Nasgovitz, Jennifer Stepanwolf, Sarah Fielding, Leslie Gallant, and Erika Hickey.

Sarah Fielding

“We are marching for the women before us and the women after, we will not be silenced.”

Leslie Gallant

“I marched today to show my daughter how women can join together with great power and force and solidarity. I want her to see how people should stand up for their beliefs. How, often you’ll find others that feel the same. Look for them. This time we didn’t have to look far.”

Erika Hickey

“I marched today because our planet deserves gentle treatment, our bodies are OUR bodies, and every single person deserves equality and respect, and love conquers all.”

Submitted by Caroline Lonski

Caroline Lonksi

“Courage. Compassion. Justice. Today we stood up for ourselves, our mothers, our sons, our neighbors, you. We stood up for ALL citizens regardless of color, creed, gender. We stood up for the earth and her waters, for financial independence and reproductive rights for all, for the vulnerable and disenfranchised. Our message is clear: we accept the moral obligation to fight hard for the world in which we wish to live. We have found our voices: hear us roar!”

Cathy Tutty

“Today, the sun was shining in Montana, where skies are always blue. For my part, I positioned myself near the beginning of the March and filmed the marchers for nearly 45 minutes, the amount of time it took for the entire parade to pass by me on 8th Street in Helena. I saw men, women, and children. I watched people in wheelchairs, with oxygen, with canes, or with crutches and roller chairs. They wore pink hats and rainbow capes; they carried signs and flags; they laughed and they cried.

Submitted by Cathy Tutty

“Through the 45 minutes, I carried my gram and a postcard she sent when I was 2 years old, an angel token commemorating my BlueBird and Camp Fire Girl days, and a mug referencing my time in college. I was surrounded by angels and guides, Native Americans, Irish washer women, and teachers. And I cried – tears of angst, fear, and pain, sure. I also cried tears of support, compassion, and joy. Changed forever, I give you my solemn vow. I will speak. I will appear. I will be the difference.

“I ended my time in Helena with my sister over a cup of tea. During that conversation, the phrase above came to me, ‘You can get busy living or you can get busy dying.’ I do not know how many years I have left on this planet. I do know that during those years, I WILL be speaking, supporting, empowering, developing – whatever is necessary for YOU and ME to be the difference. My career as an inspiring speaker begins now. LET’S GET BUSY LIVING!”