Pro-women’s marches in Port Townsend and worldwide

After multiple experiences with sexual assault, Sequim resident Sally Franz feels compelled to take a stand for women’s rights this weekend by participating in a bipartisan pro-women’s march in New York City.

At 66 years old, marching in winter conditions will not be easy, especially after learning to walk again after an illness caused her to become paralyzed from the ribs down.

She said it will be difficult and painful to march, but that she is passionate about showing her support for women’s rights.

“It’s a message to Trump and the Trump administration,” she said. “What we’re saying is women’s rights are human rights and human rights are guaranteed under the Bill of Rights.”

Franz is one of a number of Olympic Peninsula residents taking part in a similar marches locally and in Seattle on Saturday, Jan. 21.

Women from Port Townsend will hold a sister march to stand in solidarity with men and women worldwide for the Women’s March on Washington, one day after President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration, to promote women’s rights.

According to the Peninsula Daily News, women in Port Townsend will march at 10 a.m. Saturday, starting at 817 Water St. and gather at the Haller Fountain while residents from Sequim and Jefferson County will head to Seattle on buses and in carpools to participate in the Seattle Womens March at the same time on Saturday, Jan. 21.

The PDN reports about 250 people will leave from Jefferson County to march in Seattle, said Debbi Steele, founder of the Fund for Women and Girls of Jefferson County and one of the organizers of the trip to Seattle.

Nine of those attending the march in Seattle are Sequim residents.

The Women’s March on Washington counted 386 marches and 735,070 sister marches will be held around the world on Jan. 21 to stand together to promote women’s rights, “regardless of a woman’s race, ethnicity, religion, immigration status, sexual identity, gender expression, economic status, age or disability” the website stated.

As a victim of sexual assault, Franz said she believes Trump’s “locker room talk” was a way to encourage a rape culture in this country.

“To say ‘wink wink it was only locker room talk’ gives men permission to sexually assault and harass women,” she said. “It affects my daughters, my granddaughters and all the women that have to go to work now.”

Franz said the point of this rally is to make a public appearance so big the media cannot ignore it. The march in New York City is one of the many pro-women’s marches that will take place around the country at 10 a.m. on Jan. 21.

Franz knows personally about sexual assault, she said. She has had a multitude of careers throughout her life, from marketing to consulting to working as a director at UNICEF and director manager for Save the Children, where she worked with women and children at-risk and women in safe shelters in New York City.

She also was hired to travel and train employees of Texaco, an American oil subsidiary of Chevron, all over the country for diversity training after the company faced a lawsuit against it because it was not promoting people of color and women in its organization.

Franz said she hopes Trump will keep his promises for Medicare, Social Security and healthcare for women and children.

She believes thousands of men and women will show up in New York City to support women’s rights and hundreds of thousands in Washington, D.C., where the main Women’s March on Washington will be held.

She said participants want Trump to know how many women are willing to bear the cold and how many all over the country are willing to stand up.

“Women have to stand up for women, whatever party you are,” Franz said. “He’s going to find out there’s numbers and you can’t dismiss us.”

She clarified that participants involved in this march are not protesting Trump, but want him to understand the threat women feel under the Trump Administration.

Franz said that, ironically, the march in New York City is along the same parade route she walked in the 1960s, where she first protested against Exxon and Exxon Mobil.

Although she is exhausted, Franz said, she will have to march again.

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