2018 Women’s March organizers encourage new generation of women to run for office

Former Juneau Rep. Beth Kerttula stands with other lawmakers on the steps of the Alaska State Capitol on Jan. 20, 2018.

Former Juneau Rep. Beth Kerttula stands with other lawmakers on the steps of the Alaska State Capitol on Jan. 20, 2018. (Photo by Adelyn Baxter/KTOO)

Hundreds gathered outside the Alaska State Capitol Saturday morning for the 2018 Women’s March on Juneau. They held signs saying “The Future is Female,” “Time’s Up” and “We need a leader, not a tweeter.”

This year’s local contingent of the international event saw upwards of 800 people come together. They came to voice their dissatisfaction with President Donald Trump and many of the policies enacted during his first year in office.

Former Juneau Rep. Beth Kerttula told the crowd what they can do to fight back.

“My family’s run for office at least 20 times, and now it’s your turn,” Kerttula said. “I want every one of you to think about it and if you have the time and you can do it, I want you to run. It’s the only way we’re going to change things.”

Juneau-Douglas High School senior Skye Van Valin spoke about the need for a more inclusive society and to continue working for causes you believe in. Van Valin is involved in numerous social justice groups at school and in the community.

“It wasn’t like a conscious decision for me, you know? I feel like it’s less difficult to be an activist than just sit back and watch bad things happen,” Van Valin said.

March emcee Sara Hannan said outlooks like that were exactly what Saturday’s march was all about. She said she and other organizers hope it inspires more women to run for office in 2018 and push for progressive action in their communities.

“I think we had more people than we thought might show up with such little advance notice, and so many young people,” Hannan  said. “To women of the retirement age it is good to see the baton being passed and the willingness to take up the fight.”

Other speakers included Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott and local progressive humor blogger Libby Bakalar.

After the program, the crowd marched down Main Street to Marine Park. Some speakers went to nearby coffee shops afterward to continue the conversation with participants.

Correction: In an earlier version of this story, we misstated that Rep. Ivy Spohnholz spoke at the rally. She was sick and did not attend.

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