Three local women head to Washington, D.C. Women’s March

Managing Editor


Standing up for women’s rights – that’s what is driving three Lewistown women to make the long trek from Central Montana to Washington, D.C. to take part in the Women’s March on Washington happening today, Saturday, Jan. 21. Sarah Smith, Diane DeRosier and Andre Zollars will join other marchers from Montana in the historic gathering at the nation’s capital, and each says future generations are a large part of the reason they are making the effort.

“I’m a nurse, and access to affordable health care for women, especially in rural or frontier areas like Central Montana, is something I am passionate about,” DeRosier said. “General respect for women is part of it too, something I feel strongly about. I’ve had a lot of support from people here who have learned I’m going to the march, and even my son is going to wear pink in support.”

DeRosier said she plans to carry a sign showing the Montana flag, and will be wearing what she calls a “suffragette” sash with a message related to women’s healthcare. She is also going to wear a pink cat hat, a reference to women’s reproduction.

“We’re going to meet up with the rest of the Montanans who will be there and hopefully we will all march together,” DeRosier said, adding that the Montana contingent will carry bear bells, something she is not sure marchers from elsewhere will recognize.

“We’re limited by security issues as to what we can bring, and how much,” DeRosier said. “We’ve been told to prepare for an average of five hours at the event, possibly longer, so I am taking food, water and hand wipes. We may not have cell service as they are expecting between 800,000 and 900,000 marchers, and the cell towers may be overwhelmed.”

Reservations for the event were made weeks ago, DeRosier said, and she will be staying with Sarah Smith, while the third member of the Lewistown group, Andre Zollars, has made arrangements to stay with a military friend of the family.

Zollars, who is taking her daughters, 14-year-old Aleutia and 20-year-old Jennifer, to the march, said fundamental values are what are driving her to make the long trip from Butte to D.C.

“For me, there is a whole milieu of issues, with women’s issues at the forefront, which I feel are under attack,” Zollars said. “As a veteran I took an oath to defend the Constitution against enemies, foreign and domestic. For the first time, I feel there is a domestic threat to our constitutional freedoms.”

Zollars said the march is an opportunity to show her daughters how important it is to stand up for those freedoms.

“My biggest focus is to model for my daughters what you do when your basic rights are threatened,” she said. “Freedom is something every generation has to fight for. It’s so critical for me that I show my daughters that freedom isn’t a given – you must fight for it.”

Zollars plans to carry a copy of the Montana state flag with the wording “Nasty Woman” on it, a reference to a comment President Trump made about Hilary Clinton during a debate, as well as wearing a t-shirt made for the Montana contingent.

Sarah Smith said being part of the process was the driving force behind her participation in the march.

“My commitment is to make sure our new president does what I think he should,” Smith said, “but a bigger part is when we come back. We need to be calling our elected representatives and making our voice heard.”

“Hopefully I’m a good model for my kids,” Smith added, saying she sees participating in the march as one of her rights as an American.

Smith said she hadn’t been involved in any event this large before, and was not sure what to expect. Her children, she said, are very excited that she is going, and, because this will be her first trip to Washington, D.C., she plans to take some extra time on Sunday to see some of the sights, including some of the Smithsonian museums.

All three women expect to return to Central Montana Wednesday.



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