On Saturday, Jan. 21, millions of people will gather in various cities and towns to participate in a Women's March on Washington and in various places across the world. Here in Alaska, groups in 10 cities have organized and planned their own regional marches. As chair of the Alaska Democratic Party I will march alongside my friends and neighbors in Palmer.
We are marching because equality, mutual respect, inclusiveness and appreciation of diversity are all hallmarks of American democracy. Another symbol of American democracy is the peaceful transition of power. We have a profound respect for the institution of the United States presidency, and sincerely hope that our incoming commander in chief shares this respect. We gather together to honor these virtues, and to remind the incoming administration that we will not be marginalized, we are watching and listening, and we are prepared to stand up for ourselves and our beliefs.
Our country must heal deep wounds after a particularly ugly and divisive presidential election. Many families and friends — mainly due to the constant presence of social media — endured rifts based on individual political beliefs. It is the right of every American citizen to exercise their First Amendment freedoms, and we encourage passionate engagement in the political process. However, now is the time to move past the divisiveness, to come together and remember the enduring ties that bind us to each other in communities across our country.
In their mission statement, the national organizers of Saturday's march affirm that, "In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore. The Women's March on Washington will send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world that women's rights are human rights."
I will remember these important words on Saturday, and look forward to the future with a renewed spirit of hope and optimism. Together we will continue to fight for our founding fathers' vision of a more perfect union.
For more information about how you can get involved in this effort in Anchorage, please visit facebook.com/events/1837526733171579/.
Casey Steinau is chairwoman of the Alaska Democratic Party.