Corvallis Women’s March organizer Brandy Fortson was the final speaker at the rally before Saturday’s march.
Fortson, who identifies as nonbinary, told a story about losing a newborn child in 2008, just days after a very complicated delivery. Fortson said the medical bills from the delivery caused so much stress that it led to a divorce.
“People who have experienced medical trauma should not also have to experience financial trauma,” Forston said, and called on the attendees of the rally to pressure politicians to support Medicare for all.
Fortson was one of eight speakers at the 2019 Corvallis Women’s March and Rally, which was one of hundreds held across the country. The events marked the third anniversary of the original women's marches held the weekend after President Donald Trump was inaugurated.
Other issues addressed in Corvallis included violence against indigenous women, how much transgender people have sacrificed for progressive causes without recognition, the retaliation a speaker experienced after speaking at last year’s rally and the need for progressives to take more revolutionary action.
The Gazette-Times counted more than 500 people at the event, which started at Corvallis’ Central Park and ended with a march through downtown streets.
Fortson, who is affiliated with the Heart of the Valley chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, said the event’s organizers tried to recruit speakers from a wide variety of experiences for this year’s event.
“We are making it as inclusive as possible. Whoever the woman is, we’re including them,” Fortson said.
Many of the event’s attendees carried signs. Some of the messages included:
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“My body, my choice.”
“We are stronger than fear.”
“The water is rising and so are we.”
“End the Electoral College.”
“Women belong in the House,” with a drawing of the United States Capitol.
Ella Morton, a Corvallis High School freshman who started a Young Democratic Socialists Club at the school, was one of the speakers. She talked about being inspired by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) to believe she could make a difference, despite being a high school student.
Morton said young people will be the ones to inherit all of the problems of the world and she believes they need to be ready to stand together.
“We are more powerful together. If we stand together we can make a difference.”