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A ‘celebration of all women’ comes to Boise this weekend. Will you be there?

Thousands gather for Women’s March on Idaho

As many as 5,000 women and human-rights supporters gather at the steps of the Idaho Statehouse for the Women's March through Downtown Boise on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017.
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As many as 5,000 women and human-rights supporters gather at the steps of the Idaho Statehouse for the Women's March through Downtown Boise on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017.

The Womxn’s March of Idaho on Saturday at the Capitol is the same event you might have attended the past two years.

And no, that’s not a typo in its name.

The Women’s March is a national event, with the main event occurring in Washington, D.C., on Saturday. The first Women’s March took place on Jan. 21, 2017, in response to Donald Trump’s election as president, and was “grounded in the nonviolent ideology of the civil rights movement.” Nearly 700 sister marches took place around the country, including in Boise, and a total of nearly 5 million people rallied.

In Idaho’s capital city this year, “Womxn” has replaced “Women.” Why? It’s an effort to be more inclusive to those who might not identify as a woman in the binary sense, according to organizers.

The rally is put together by People for Unity, a student-run organization fighting for equality for all. Maddie Oppenheimer, a junior at Boise High School who is the director of outreach for People for Unity, was approached in September about this year’s event.

“We decided to replace the ‘e’ in women with an ‘x’ just to show that this march is all about inclusiveness, and to show that we are acknowledging people who are transgender or non-binary,” Oppenheimer said.

According to its website, the Women’s March “is committed to dismantling systems of oppression through nonviolent resistance and building inclusive structures guided by self-determination, dignity and respect,” via protest and activism.

Trump’s presidency and subsequent fears of losing personal freedoms spawned the march in 2017 and were the dark cloud over the event in 2018. This year, however, there’s an effort to shift the focus.

“(It’s about) empowerment (and a) celebration of all women. I think, the first year, we kind of had an angry tone. We really want it to be positive,” Oppenheimer said..

The Boise march had about 5,000 participants in 2017 and roughly 3,000 last year.

Several guest speakers will address the crowd, with former White House communications director Jennifer Palmieri serving as the headliner. Palmieri was communications director under former President Barack Obama, served as deputy press secretary for former President Bill Clinton and was the communications director for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Palmieri also has authored a book, titled “Dear Madam President: An Open Letter to the Women Who Will Run the World.”

She will focus on the topics of her book rather than politics, Oppenheimer said.

“She’s definitely going to bring the perspective of writing ‘Dear Madam President’ … the struggles and the victories that she faced,” Oppenheimer said. “I’m hoping that it will bring out a big crowd, but at the end of the day, this rally is about empowering women and celebrating women, not the individual people.”

The Womxn’s March on Idaho is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. and will run until roughly 10:30 a.m.

Michael Katz covers breaking news at the Idaho Statesman. He attended the University of Southern California and grew up in Pasadena, California.If you like seeing stories like this, please consider supporting our work with a digital subscription to the Idaho Statesman.

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