Everett’s Donna Witte at the Seattle Women’s March last year. Witte plans to join the Seattle Women’s March 2.0 on Saturday. (Courtesy Donna Witte)

Everett’s Donna Witte at the Seattle Women’s March last year. Witte plans to join the Seattle Women’s March 2.0 on Saturday. (Courtesy Donna Witte)

Everett events part of national ‘March to Impeach’

“The main thing that draws me out is the realization I have been taking this democracy for granted.”

Kathryn Lewandowsky and Kat Overman will march in Everett. Donna Witte, Karen Boe and Mary Dickinson plan to march in Seattle. Their reasons are both different and the same.

They might differ on which issues matter to them most, but all have decided to step out — and speak up — in the year since President Donald Trump took office.

“The main thing that draws me out is the realization I have been taking this democracy for granted,” said Witte, 67, who lives in Everett. “Never in my wildest imagination did I think we would elect a president who appears to be so wholly unqualified for the office.”

More than 100,000 people, Witte and many others from Snohomish County among them, took part in the Women’s March on Seattle last year. That event, on Jan. 21, 2017, was a day after Trump’s inauguration, and coincided with the massive Women’s March in Washington, D.C., and similar events around the world.

A year later, an Everett March to Impeach is planned for 10 a.m. Saturday beginning at the 10th Street Boat Launch and leading to a noon rally outside the Snohomish County Courthouse. And the Seattle Women’s March 2.0 is scheduled to start at 11:30 a.m. Saturday from Cal Anderson Park on Capitol Hill, with marchers filling streets on a route to the Seattle Center.

Arlington’s Kathryn Lewandowsky, 59, organized the Everett march. A nurse who works at Cascade Valley Hospital, she said the Everett event was inspired by a National March for Impeachment planned for Saturday in Washington, D.C.

“The most important thing is to get this person out of office — I refuse to call him President Trump,” Lewandowsky said. “My biggest issue with him, he’s dishonest. He lies.”

Lewandowsky, now a leader with the Green Party of Snohomish County, favored Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential race. Among her big issues, she remains committed to Sanders’ “Medicare for All” stance, which views health care as a right rather than a privilege.

For Lake Stevens residents Dickinson and Boe, the Seattle Women’s March 2.0 will be a repeat of their participation last year. “It was wonderful, so peaceful. It raised hopes,” said Boe, who is 57.

Dickinson, 72, carried a “Pissed-Off Grandma” sign at the 2017 march. It’s unconscionable, she said, that the Equal Rights Amendment hasn’t passed, “in this day and age.”

Boe and Overman are worried about women’s reproductive choices. “I’m long past becoming pregnant, but those rights and that access are at risk,” said Overman, 67, who in the 1990s was chairwoman of the Snohomish County Democrats. “We have to support younger women,” she said.

Overman, of Everett, is troubled by the administration’s behavior toward the press, Trump’s demeanor and other issues. “He’s sitting in a position that not only has the power to take away our rights, he’s changing the discourse of this whole country,” she said.

In April, Overman walked in Seattle’s March for Science, a nonpartisan Earth Day event that drew thousands. Among them was 97-year-old Eddy Fischer, a University of Washington biochemistry professor emeritus and 1992 co-winner of the Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine.

“That was so wonderful,” Overman said. “These were scientists, becoming political to be able to hang on to things that are important to them.”

Lewandowsky is angered by the administration’s environmental record. Last March, Trump signed what The Washington Post described as a “sweeping executive order” aimed at undoing Obama administration efforts to combat climate change. “These people want to destroy the EPA,” she said.

She also believes Trump’s presidency has bolstered the #MeToo movement. Allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein created a social media phenomenon. Countless women have shared their own experiences.

During Trump’s presidential campaign, the now-famous 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape surfaced. Trump was recorded, in a lewd conversation with Billy Bush, bragging about groping and trying to have sex with women.

“To be honest, I think that is the one thing we can thank Donald Trump for,” Lewandowsky said. “It got a lot of powerful women to come out and say, ‘Hey, this happened in this industry.’ And regular women said, ‘Well duh, it’s been happening forever.’ ”

Dickinson said she sees a White House willing to discount and curb the rights of “the other.”

The former Spanish teacher believes the White House is sending this message: “If you’re not like me — if you’re gay or transgender, black or an immigrant — you don’t count.”

In organizing the Everett march, Lewandowsky is doing what she can. “Everett is a big city. We want to show we’ve got a lot of socially responsible people here,” she said. And although she has been a leader in her union and interested in politics, “I feel like I haven’t been active enough. This happened under my watch.”

A mom and a grandmother, Witte has always been interested in women’s issues. “I was awakened to feminism back in the ’70s like many of us were,” she said. “I kind of fell asleep about the whole thing while raising my kids, until the past couple years.”

Witte and millions of other men and women are wide awake now. With their feet and voices, they plan to make a powerful statement Saturday, all across this country.

“I think that Donald Trump and his ilk are going to discover, when we all rise up together, there are too many of us,” Overman said.

Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; jmuhlstein@herald net.com.

Weekend marches

  • Seattle Women’s March 2.0: Starts 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Cal Anderson Park, 1635 11th Ave. on Capitol Hill. Pre-march program 10-11:30 a.m. Route heads out of the park to Pike Street, right on Fourth Avenue and ends at the Seattle Center (via Harrison Street). Events end about 3 p.m. Information: https://seattlewomens march2018.com/
  • Everett March to Impeach: Starts 10 a.m. Saturday at the Port of Everett’s Boat Launch area, 10th Street and W. Marine View Drive. Rally scheduled noon-2 p.m. outside Snohomish County Courthouse, 3000 Rockefeller Ave. Route heads from boat launch to Legion Memorial Park, south on Broadway to Angel of the Winds Arena and on to courthouse. After rally, route will follow Pacific Avenue to Grand Avenue, across W. Marine View Drive overpass at 25th Street and back to boat launch. Information: www.facebook.com/impeach.everett.march/
  • Anacortes Women’s March: Starts 6 p.m. Friday in the plaza at the Depot Arts Center, 611 R Ave., Anacortes. Participants asked to bring signs, candles and flashlights. Information: Anacortes Women’s March 2018 on Facebook.

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