Galionites attend march, rally in Columbus

GALION — Saturday’s Women’s March on Washington is expected to draw more than 200,000 to the nation’s capital, but a sister march Sunday in Columbus also attracted thousands. including two Galion residents.

Paula Durbin and Roberta Wade made the trip to the state’s capital to show their support for human rights days before Donald Trump is set to be inaugurated as the country’s 45th president.

“The recent presidential election saw the beginning of an all-out assault on some of the basic values of our country —equal rights; respect for all people, no matter what sex, sexual orientation, nationality or heritage; providing some sort of healthcare coverage so that all people have access to medical treatment for themselves and their families,” said Wade.

Wade said that under Trump, women, the LGBT population, minorities, disabled, and foreigners face a real threat to their rights.

“Although the march in Columbus on Sunday was a “women’s march,” the theme was women’s rights are human rights, and the march participants were far more than women — there were women, children, men, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgenders, minorities, disabled, and foreigners,” Wade said. “Trumps comments degrading women, making fun of the disabled, threatening immigrants, and bullying minority groups and individuals just cannot and will not be tolerated.”

Signs at the march included topics such as human rights, healthcare, respect, women’s rights, and Russia’s involvement in US elections. Trump’s behavior was also a subject of signs, with a baby in a stroller having a sign that said “Trump Acts Like A Baby.”

“And there were signs about the ‘hate’ that Trump is promoting in our country. I think that a citizen cannot sit idly by and allow this assault on basic American values to go on unchallenged. As one sign said, If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention,” Wade said.

Wade, a Galion attorney, said she participated in the march because she was able to do so for her injured and disabled clients who may not physically be able to participate.

“Their rights are in jeopardy, and I will continue to stand against this attack on human rights and basic American values,” Wade said. “Our ancestors fought and died to make this country ‘free’ and a ‘land of opportunity’ for everyone. It is up to us now to see that legacy is preserved,” Wade said.

Durbin said when we stand together, we cannot be divided.

“When I pass onto another life I would like to be remembered that I made a difference in the lives of my family and friends and I never gave up on this great country of ours,” Durbin said. “Our forefathers gave us a good foundation to build upon and lately we seem to be tearing it down one brick at a time.”

Durbin said the United States is a diverse nation and should celebrate that.

“We need to show the world we are united as a people. I have many friends from different cultures, religions, ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientation and want us all be treated equally, not just give lip service to a movement but do what is necessary to bring about positive change in this country,” said Durbin.

Durbin said a quote by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has stuck with her.

“Women’s rights are human rights and human rights are women’s rights, which has stuck with me all these years. When I wanted to start a business in the early 80’s, I could not find a bank that would give me a loan, they all wanted a male co-signer. I could have had a male co-sign a loan for me, but this was something I wanted to do own my own, so I found a female banker that took a chance on me and it was and still is a great friendship,” Durbin said.

Durbin said her grandmother was a suffragette.

“I felt her presence when I was in Columbus, she was telling me there is nothing you cannot accomplish if you really want it, and I want all the citizens in this country to be treated equally and fairly,” said Durbin. “Women are to be treated as human beings and not objects, we seem to have a culture developing in this country that denigrates woman and promotes the “macho” male, this is terrible and I will not tolerate anyone treating me with anything but respect.”

At least seven residents from Galion and Bucyrus will be heading to Washington D.C. for the main march on Saturday while many other Crawford County residents are heading to Cleveland for a sister march there.

The Women’s March on Washington is being co-shared by well-known activists including Gloria Steinem, Ladonna Harris, Harry Belafonte, Angela Davis and Dolores Huerta.

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A sister march to this week’s Women’s March on Washington drew thousands to Columbus on Sunday, including two Galion residents. (Courtesy photo) sister march to this week’s Women’s March on Washington drew thousands to Columbus on Sunday, including two Galion residents. (Courtesy photo)

A Sunday march in Columbus is a precursor to this weekend’s Women’s March on Washington. (Courtesy photo) Sunday march in Columbus is a precursor to this weekend’s Women’s March on Washington. (Courtesy photo)

By Kimberly Gasuras

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Reach Gasuras on Twitter: @kimberlygasuras