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Arizonans join diverse Women’s March to protest Trump inauguration

(Photo: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

WASHINGTON – Environmental scientist Marilyn Zenko feels strongly enough about President Donald Trump’s environmental policies that she is coming from Goodyear to be part of this weekend’s Women’s March on Washington.

She will be joined by nearly a dozen family members: Her mom and sister will march in support of the disabled community while other family members will participate in the name of reproductive rights among other causes.

And they will be joined by an expected 200,000 others who, like Zenko’s family, will march on behalf of many different causes but all with the single goal of making their voices heard the day after Trump’s inauguration.

The Women’s March on Washington has evolved from a statement about women’s rights to a gathering of Americans who are concerned about the incoming administration’s rhetoric across a broad range of topics.

The official website for the march says it aims to bring together anyone who felt threatened during the campaign, including – but not limited to – Muslims, immigrants, people of color, people living with disabilities and survivors of sexual assault.

People like D’Lisa Shayn Khademi and the people who work for her.

“Every single person who works for me is either a woman, a single mom, gay or lesbian,” said Khademi, who owns Salon D’Shayn shops in Phoenix and Scottsdale. “They are hurt by the attitude of this administration.”

She said she has always kept a political Facebook page but that in the past year she has had to block 100 people who have threatened or insulted her on the page, often because she is a woman.

She thinks “people’s outwardness” with hateful opinions is a direct result of the example set by Trump over the course of his campaign, and worries about the effect of that new leadership on her and on her diverse salon staff.

Khademi said she was disappointed in the election results, but even more so in the negative behavior she feels has been fueled by Trump’s rhetoric.

“The election results were extraordinarily depressing,” said Khademi, adding that it “feels like we’re sliding back” in terms of the place of women in society. That motivated her desire to come to the march in Washington.

For those who can’t come to Washington, there are “sister marches” scheduled around the country, including one that will meet at the State Capitol in Phoenix and another that will meet at Armory Park in Tucson. Both will begin Saturday at 10 a.m.

But it’s not just women who are marching. Nate Terani, a Tucson resident who describes himself as a Muslim-American, cites his religion and his military experience as his reasons to march.

He has been working with others to raise funds that will help 100 to 200 female veterans from across the country attend the march. More than $10,000 had been raised through the GoFundMe account they set up.

Terani said his need to protest Trump’s administration is fueled in part by the president’s campaign, when he called for blocking Muslims from entering the country or starting a registry for Muslims who are here, among other comments.

But Terani also believes that he and other veterans owe it to the United States to stand in “intersectional solidarity” with all Americans.

“We took an oath to defend the Constitution,” Terani said. “I think that oath is being violated by someone who is supposed to be our new commander in chief.”

For Phoenix resident John Stencel, this weekend’s march will be his second time protesting a presidential inauguration in Washington. The first time was to protest the swearing-in of President George W. Bush.

Stencel said the results of this election “sucked,” and he worries that a Trump administration will threaten immigrants and women.

“They’re right when they say that women’s issues are human issues,” Stencel said. “It’s too important not to go.”

The current political climate has motivated north Phoenix resident Joyce Vogt to join a protest for the very first time.

Vogt, who moved from Washington to the Valley in 2014, said the partisanship in in Washington has upset her for several years, but the 49-year-old was never motivated to join a protest until now.

She is concerned with the “rhetoric from Mr. Trump,” regarding women and “other folks.” But she has a message for the incoming president.

“For me, it’s like, ‘Hey, we’re watching, and be careful,’” Vogt said.

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