McNary alum at 2019 Women's March
February 1, 2019 By:MHS Piper
By Alan Torres
Several McNary alumni joined a crowd of roughly 1000 women and allies to march for women’s rights at the Oregon capitol, Saturday, January 19 as part of a nationwide protest. According to the Women’s March Salem Facebook page, “The mission of Women’s March is to harness the political power of diverse women and their communities to create transformative social change.
“The Women’s March is a women-led movement providing intersectional education on a diverse range of issues and creating entry points for new grassroots activists and organizers to engage in their local communities through training, outreach programs, and events.
“Women’s March is committed to dismantling systems of oppression through nonviolent resistance and building inclusive structures guided by self-determination, dignity, and respect.”
One McNary alumni at the march was Natascha Williams, one of the caretakers of Caesar, The No Drama Llama who was also at the march. Williams and the rest of Caesar’s team were invited to bring Caesar to the march and accepted the opportunity. “We’re here to bring more attention.” Williams said, “Caesar loves everyone. He cares about everyone. … He’s here to bring happiness.”
During the event, Williams took pictures of people with Caesar and helped kids warm up to him saying, “It’s not everyday you meet a llama.”
Another McNary alumni at the march was Alexzandria Rocherort, class of 2011. Rocherort was a photographer for The Piper when she was in high school and now does photography professionally.
At the Women’s March, Rocherort carried a sign that read, “RESISTING BITCH FACE” she said she chose the sign because she’s tired of men always telling her to smile, “Apparently when I don’t smile I’m a bitch,” Rocheront said.
Rocheront also met Caesar at the event, “I’ve never gotten to see such a beautiful animal.” She said.
Men were included among these alumni such as Osvaldo Torres, class of 2016. “I’m here to help acknowledge my privilege as a white male and do my part. Every time I fail to act, my friends are hurt,” He said.
Torres currently works in Disability Services and regularly communicates with people with disabilities, many of whom he said have been negatively affected by the current administration.
Joining Torres was his friend John Bryant, class of 2015. “I’m here because I want to support what we’re fighting for and want to do what I can to support women,” Bryant said.
The march featured six guest speakers. The first was miss Danielle Meyer, Chair of the Salem Human Rights Commission, who spoke about, “overcoming fears to open up a path to participation and community involvement” transcripts of her speech can be found here: English Spanish
The second speaker was Sarah Bennett, a caregiver who spoke about the struggles caregivers, who are mainly women, face in the United States. The Spanish translation of her speech can be found here.
The third speaker was Shelaswau Bushnell Crier, local politician. Crier spoke against “division, hatred, and going backwards” The video of Crier’s speech can be found here.
The event’s fourth speaker was Jennifer Hoffman, founder of Americans of Conscience Checklist. In her speech Hoffman encouraged listeners to “deepen your commitment to your neighbors’ rights with your time, treasure, and talent.” The transcripts of Hoffman’s speeches can be found here: English Spanish. Her Americans of Conscience checklist can be found here.
The march’s fifth speaker was Warren Binford, director of Willamette University’s Clinical Law Program and one of the few private citizens with access to the centers where undocumented immigrants are held, “many of them unlawfully and inhumanely” and used her speech to describe their condition. Transcripts of her speech can be found here: English Spanish
The final speaker at the event was Maria Reyes Patino. Reyes is a Salem resident who serves on the Oregon DACA Coalition and is an Addiction Treatment Specialist at Bridgeway Recovery Services.