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Supporters of women’s rights, equality for all marched Saturday

Becky Haynes, 68, Dewey-Humboldt was at the Women’s March On event. “I hope to have the ERA pass one of these days — it’s way overdue. Women’s rights are big for me, and the environment is important. Taking away the protection of the environment makes no sense to me. I was active in the ’60s and have always supported Planned Parenthood. I have a gay daughter and I support her.” (Sue Tone/Tribune)

Becky Haynes, 68, Dewey-Humboldt was at the Women’s March On event. “I hope to have the ERA pass one of these days — it’s way overdue. Women’s rights are big for me, and the environment is important. Taking away the protection of the environment makes no sense to me. I was active in the ’60s and have always supported Planned Parenthood. I have a gay daughter and I support her.” (Sue Tone/Tribune)

The signs brought home yet another year of support for equal rights and protests against oppression as participants marched Jan. 19 at the Yavapai County Courthouse in Prescott.

“Equal Means Equal”

“I March for … my daughters and Mother Earth”

“Save the Dells”

“Immigrants & Refugees Welcome”

“Men of Quality Don’t Fear Equality”

The catchy slogans made the Yavapai County Women’s March On event on the courthouse plaza a fun place to be while also making an important statement for women’s rights, as well as human rights in general, and the environment.

More than 1,000 participants — less than the 1,500 or more in previous years — showed up, some carrying signs, some wearing pink or red, to express their views. Wearers of pink hats generally were advocating for women’s rights; the people in red shirts supported education issues.

As last year, a flash mob had fun dancing in front of the north side of the courthouse, where earlier Meg Bohrman and several other musicians led the audience in peace and protest songs.

“We are rising like flowers, out of concrete. We are rising like warriors, into these streets,” Bohrman encouraged participants to chant. “It’s not about getting it right. It’s about getting it loud!”

Friends Liz, 38, Susan, 67, and Stevie, 41, said they were participating because they are “concerned about the direction our country is going, its leadership is detrimental to the needs of us citizens and the entire world,” Liz said.

“It’s women’s duty to come together on a regular basis,” Stevie said. “Birth control should be available at all companies. I’m married with two children and it’s my decision. It’s 2019 — it’s not right to deny access to birth control.”

About a dozen protesters of the march stood at the corner of Montezuma and Cortez streets with Trump signs. Occasionally, a pick-up truck rounded the corner and tooted in support. Dan Elkins of Prescott carried signs stating, “Toxic Masculinity. You’re kidding me, right?” and “Toxic Feminism Emasculates Males.”

“I believe radical feminists are more toxic than whatever they think men are doing. The American Psychiatric Association is saying traditional masculinity is some kind of mental disorder. That’s nonsense,” said Elkins, who is 70-plus and strongly opposes abortion.

A former Californian, Carolyn Diaz of Prescott, acknowledged she shares some of the same beliefs as the marchers. “Sometimes we agree on things,” she said, referring to one of her signs calling for the end of oppression for women with photos of women in hijabs. The other side said “Women for Trump.” She carried a Trump flag.

Diaz said the two new Muslim congresswomen who wear head coverings are forced to do so by their religion and male leaders, unlike Catholic nuns who choose to wear their head piece. In Iran, women cannot go bare-headed without being arrested, she said. She would like the marchers to focus on oppressed women in Muslim countries. “Rather than hating Trump, they should be over there saving those women.”

Becky Haynes, 69, from Dewey-Humboldt, with stunning blue-tinged hair, circled the courthouse with the marchers and stood on the steps with her sign, “Girls just wanna have fundamental human rights.”

A supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment and Planned Parenthood, Haynes said the environment also is important to her. “Taking away the protection of the environment makes no sense to me,” she said.

Women’s marches took place all over the world Saturday, and also flooded the streets of the nation’s capital in Washington, D.C., where the first marches occurred in 2017.

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