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McGuire local spokesperson for Women’s March

January 15, 2020
By PAULETTE LeBLANC ( , Pine Island Eagle

The worldwide Women's March began Jan. 21, 2017, covering the globe from Paris to Hong Kong. Tens of millions of people showed up in an effort to support the dismantling of oppressive systems of all kinds. This year the March will take place this Saturday, Jan. 18, with a heavy focus on cornerstone issues, such as the Equal Rights Addendum, climate change and immigration reform.

Island resident Susan McGuire, the local spokesperson for the March in Fort Myers, said it's important to stop talking about politics and talk about values instead.

"The Trump election was only a catalyst," said McGuire, speaking on the history of the March. "In reality, it was a reaction to what was seen as the rise of authoritarianism and the denigration of human dignity."

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Susan McGuire

McGuire stresses the point that this is not a March "against" anyone, but rather a civil display of support for the betterment of society as a whole.

"It's political in the sense that the things we are marching for are under attack right now," said McGuire, who names freedom and equality for all races, all religions and genders, including sexual identity, and economic status. "Even though the Supreme Court has ruled on sexual identities being equal, they are being legislated against across the nation. We're trying to stand up for the law."

She went on to say that safety is another key issue for the March. Not only safety out in the streets, but also in schools, workplaces and even in the home. McGuire feels that the much-debated issue of climate change is something everyone should be concerned about, no matter how anyone believes it transpired.

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"Climate change is not something you believe in, the way you may have faith in other things. Climate change is something we can document - we can back up with facts. It's a matter of science," said McGuire. "Our planet is under attack, so we're marching for a healthy planet."

Among the most central, however, remains the issue of equal rights. McGuire admits that opposition to equal rights, especially from other women, is puzzling.

"We are also marching for humane immigration reform," said McGuire. "There is no question that we have a broken immigration system. No one has ever questioned that. We cannot keep separating families, or placing children in costly detention centers."

McGuire named universal healthcare, enforcement of voting rights and essential fairness as prime reasons to look into what's really behind the things on which we place value, stressing the need for everyone to become better educated on the laws that govern us and the lawmakers who bring them about.

"Think about what your values are," said McGuire. "Stand up and be counted. It all begins with honesty and integrity in political life -character counts."

Arlene Feddo, president of Planned Parenthood, will speak about comprehensive sex education, free or affordable birth control and, of course, access to medical care. Other speakers include former Senatorial candidate Annlisa Karim; the president of the Haitian-American Community Coalition, Beatrice Jacquet-Castor; the president of Florida's National Organization of Women, Linda Guillotti; the president of the Fort Myers Women's March, Marian Frane;Streets Alive President Diana Giraldo; and Fort Myers City Council candidate Connie Bennett Martin.

The local March will be in Fort Myers at the Alliance of the Arts, 10091 McGregor Blvd, starting at 10 a.m.



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