Jan. 23, 2019 — While hundreds of thousands of Americans, the majority of whom were women, participated in a nationwide series of demonstrations Saturday protesting the policies and performance of President Donald Trump, Florence held its own version themed as the Women’s Wave — a rally attended by approximately 200 and primarily highlighting women’s achievements.
State Rep. Caddy McKeown started the day with a speech, indicating that the role women play in the country’s future has shifted and that the changes should be greeted with appreciation for the manner and tone with which women interact and communicate.
There was purposeful effort by local group Florence ORganizes (FOR) to keep the event positive and focused on areas where community members can make a difference in the community.
“The whole day went so very well,” said Eileen Angilletta, spokesperson for FOR. “The march went off right on time after a very good pep talk from Caddy McKeown about how well women are doing in government. There were several of us in costume: we had Rosie the Riveter, Lady Liberty, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a Suffragette, and the Mermaid bringing in the wave. Many people honked their horns in support as we marched along Highway 101.”
The rally was followed with a fundraising luncheon and silent auction at the Florence Senior Center, with all money raised to be used for education and support of new local housing group, Heart of the Coast Housing Alliance.
“At the Senior Center, the Silent Auction did very well. I know that Kimberly Fleenor’s and my basket alone raised $100. The food donated from the restaurants was well received with plenty for all the attendees. The music was great, and I got several women up dancing to a few Bollywood numbers,” Angilletta said.
Saturday’s marches and rallies were promoted and organized by a nationwide affiliation of woman’s groups, which have seen a dramatic rise in the interest and participation levels in the political process by women, in the wake of President Trump’s 2016 election.
Local activist and past candidate for County Commissioner Leonora Kent was one of the organizers of the local rally and her takeaway from Saturday’s march was positive.
“We were very pleased with Caddy’s speech about the number of women in important roles in the Oregon State Government. She also reminded us of the courage it takes to run for office, so all runners need to be given appreciation,” said Kent. “She also gave a shout out to all the men who support the women’s march and our causes. We would like to thank all the wonderful businesses and private donors who donated gifts to the silent auction.”