A photo from the 2019 Telluride’s Women’s March. (Courtesy photo)

The saying “there is strength in numbers” may be truer today than it’s ever been. Joss Lifton-Zoline of the Progressive Women’s Caucus of the San Juans (PWC) knows this. The PWC has organized a Telluride’s Women’s March since 2017 in a display of solidarity with other women and marchers across the country.

“Gathering, coming together, has its own power and is important in a time when a lot of news on the national and global stage seems pretty bleak,” Lifton-Zoline said.

The 2020 march is Saturday, starting at 10:30 a.m. at Elks Park. The group is also organizing a group ski down to the march from the San Sophia gondola station at 10 a.m.

Organizers expect up to 200 people to attend Saturday’s event, which has been the average the past couple years. The first year, 500 people came out, she added. The inaugural national women’s march was the largest single-day protest in U.S. history, as 3.3 million to 4.6 million people participated in defiance of President Donald Trump’s inauguration. The 2018 march is the second largest single-day protest (1.5 million participants).

Lifton-Zoline explained the local march is just one thing the group does in an effort to “elevate women and shape our community through leadership and participation,” according to PWC’s mission statement.  

“The PWC governing council revisits this question each year as we plan the local march,” she said. “We feel that marching once a year is not enough and should not be a stand in for other direct action folks can take or deeper work that needs to be done.”

On Friday, the PWC is hosting a poster-making workshop at the Wilkinson Public Library’s Program Room from 4-6 p.m. All necessary supplies will be provided and everyone is encouraged to attend.

Also on Friday, the Twenty(by)Telluride Women’s March edition, in partnership with Telluride Arts, will take place at the Sheridan Opera House at 7 p.m. The event, which highlights kickass local women, is free. Kathy Green, Suzan Beraza, Alexamphy Fernandez, Hollie Sue Mann, Joanna Measer Kanow, Telluride Women’s March, Telluride High School Politics and Civics Club, Barbara Bynum, and Geneva Shaunette will present. Leslie Browning will provide live music.

“The Twenty(by)Telluride event is a chance for us to hear from a few women in the community about their paths to activism and leadership and how it fits into their particular lives and perspectives,” Lifton-Zoline said. “It is a fun combination of personal narrative and generative, inspirational stories and images. It’s not to be missed.”

Friday’s festivities and Saturday’s march are part of the PWC’s ongoing effort to engage the community in conversations of inclusion, Lifton-Zoline said, including giving underrepresented groups leadership opportunities. 

“We want to help keep folks energized and engaged by coming together. Telluride, as a community, does pretty well by some measures in terms of electing women to office and honoring the powerful women here, but there are ways in which we still have a long way to go in terms of elevating native folks, people of color and LGBTQIA+ community members to leadership roles and leaving behind some of the traps of smugness and inertia that can come from feeling like we are in a like-minded bubble,” she explained. “We hope that the camaraderie created by participating in the march spurs people onto more action, not just in terms of civic engagement, but also the hard work of examining the ways in which sex- and race-based discrimination are at play in our community, and how each of us can have a role in dismantling these structures and holding each other accountable.”

As for the rest of 2020, the PWC is looking toward to the upcoming election.

“We are planning our efforts for the year, and will be focusing on voter engagement and voter turnout with an eye to providing avenues for action to anyone who is moved to participate as this major election approaches,” Lifton-Zoline said. “We will also continue our work of mentoring and supporting women in leadership roles regionally, and educating voters about candidates and issues.”

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