May 26, 2019
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Bangor women’s march focuses on connections between people

Natalie Williams | BDN
Natalie Williams | BDN
More than 100 people begin marching a little after 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 19, in West Market Square as part of Bangor Maine’s Womxn’s March.

More than 100 people met up in West Market Square late Saturday morning for Bangor Maine’s Womxn’s March, which focused on inclusivity and connectedness.

Huyanna Clearwater of Bangor said the intersectional focus of the Bangor march was one of the main reasons she wanted to participate. Among the many issues Clearwater said she and other women face, she was most focused on indigenous women going missing.

“Our women go missing all the time,” Clearwater said. “And only 1 percent are federally reported.”

Natalie Williams | BDN
Natalie Williams | BDN
Bangor residents Dawn Neptune Adams (left), of the Sunlight Media Collective, and Huyanna Clearwater catch up right before Bangor Maine's Womxn's March begins.

“The organizers of this particular march recognize the needs of our community to be complex because discrimination overlaps in areas of race, gender, class, sexual orientation, age, disability, and religion,” the event listing reads. “This inclusive march will give the opportunity to educate the public on subjects that aren’t discussed enough, but also for all voices to be heard.”

To accomplish these goals, the march featured “a diverse selection of speakers and organizers.”

[Women’s March returns to DC amid shutdown and controversy]

Clearwater’s goal for the women’s march in Bangor was to bring both men and women together.

“We can all talk, but unless we do something together, it’s never going to change,” Clearwater said.

Natalie Williams | BDN
Natalie Williams | BDN
Helena Higgins, a political science student at UMaine, focused on misogyny and solidarity with all women while at the women's march in Bangor

Helena Higgins, a political science student at the University of Maine, came out to stand in solidarity with all women. She focused particularly on the 52 percent of white women who voted for President Donald Trump in 2016, according to exit polls.

With the 100-year anniversary of women’s suffrage coming up in 2020, Higgins said women are still fighting a “tumultuous, neverending battle.”

“We’re still marching so we don’t get touched at work,” Higgins said. “Why do we have to march for this? We shouldn’t have to.”

Natalie Williams | BDN
Natalie Williams | BDN
Carolee Batson of Ellsworth speaks with fellow marchers before the Bangor women's march commenced Jan. 19.

Fellow marcher Carolee Batson of Ellsworth has made the trip to Washington, D.C., and Augusta for women’s marches in the past, but with the weather this year, she decided to stay local and head to Bangor instead.

“Complacency is not an option,” Batson said when asked why she came out to the Bangor women’s march. “Women’s rights are being stripped away right now.”

Batson said she was concerned about Trump and his policies from appointing Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court to cutting funding from Planned Parenthood.

“I’m afraid to live in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’,” Batson said, referring to the novel and TV series that depicts a dystopian, totalitarian state where women are second-class citizens.

Natalie Williams | BDN
Natalie Williams | BDN
More than 100 people listen to event organizers the morning of Saturday, Jan. 19, in West Market Square during Bangor Maine’s Womxn’s March.

Batson did end things on a positive note.

“I’m glad there’s so many women elected this year,” Batson said. “We need to keep fighting.”

The Bangor march and others come as a record 72 female lawmakers are serving in Maine’s Democratic-controlled 186-seat Legislature.

Maine voters also elected their first female governor in Janet Mills, who was sworn in earlier this month as the state’s 75th governor.

Another Bangor area women’s march was held 12:30-2 p.m. at Bangor Area Recovery Network at 142 Center St. in Brewer. Similar marches were also set to take place Saturday throughout Maine and the United States.

Correction: An earlier version of this story included an incorrect total for the number of elected officials serving in the Maine Legislature.


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