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Local participation continues in demonstrations, boycotts

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By John Colson
Sopris Sun Staff Writer

Approximately 125 people took part in a citizens’ march to support Planned Parenthood on Feb. 11 in Carbondale, walking from The Goat restaurant (Cowen Drive and Highway 133) up the bike path along Highway 133 to the roundabout at Main Street and back again.
This march, like the Women’s March on Jan. 21, was in protest against the policies of President Donald J. Trump and the Republican Congress, and was one of many such actions planned in the near future, including a local angle on a nationwide “general strike and boycott” scheduled for this Friday, Feb. 17 (see below).
Along the march route on Feb. 11, the marchers were met by a counter-demonstration — a group of 15 or so men and women (with some children in tow) — at the corner of the highway and Village Road.
“I thought it was great,” said Maura Masters, editor of Alice the Mag, an online publication “by, for and about women, and an organizer of the march, which she said was “in direct opposition to the national effort to de-fund Planned Parenthood.”
Planned Parenthood has been targeted by Republican politicians and a wide range of anti-abortion groups over claims that abortion-related services make up the bulk of the organization’s work, though the women’s health organization has indicated in numerous forums that only three percent of its activities are abortion related.
Masters confirmed that the two groups of marchers met when the larger contingent passed the Village Road intersection on the way south to the roundabout, and walked through the opposition group.
“Everybody was quiet,” Masters said of that encounter. “It was actually quite gracious and peaceful.”
But on the way back, she said, “there was some chanting and shouting” that she believed came from the counter-demonstration participants.
One of those participants, local school teacher Krista Lasko, brought her two young sons with her that morning, one of them carrying a sign bearing the slogan, “A person is a person, no matter how small,” which is a line from the Dr. Seuss book, “Horton Hears a Who.”
Lasko said her intent was to advocate for women dealing with pregnancy in other ways than abortion, and noted that she and her husband, Jake Lasko, together teach a subject known as “natural family planning” through a program called Couple To Couple, an international, Catholic non-profit organization.
“A lot of the signs were based on (the idea that) it’s okay to have a family,” she said, adding that her personal goal was “to respectfully share our own opinions,” primarily on Planned Parenthood and abortion.
The Feb. 11 march was one of a number of “actions” that will be supported or sponsored by Alice The Mag (alicethemag.com), said Masters, including a gathering of interested parties to write postcards to their elected representatives on March 15, a “No Taxation Without Representation” event on April 15, and others.
In addition, Feb. 16 has been designated “A Day Without Immigrants” due to a nationwide strike by Latino and other workers, when at least one local business — The Goat at the corner of Highway 133 and Cowen Drive — will be closed in solidarity with participating employees, said owner Stacey Baldock.
“I’m a lesbian, and I’m next in line,” said Baldock on Wedensday. “I’m gay, they’re Latino, and I support them 100 percent.”
And on Friday, Feb. 17, another Carbondale business — The Back Door consignment store at 50 N. 4th St. — will be closed as part of a nationwide boycott and strike protesting Trump’s policies, organized by the Strike4Democracy organization (strike4democracy.com).
The Carbondale Chamber of Commerce was not aware of the planned boycott, and had no information concerning local businesses participating in the action.
For readers interested in contacting Colorado’s congressional delegation, The Sopris Sun is listing the relevant contact information below:

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Sen. Cory Gardner
354 Russell, Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-5941
Fax: (202) 224-65 24

Rep. Scott Tipton
218 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-4761
Fax: (202) 226-9669

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Sen. Michael Bennet
Washington, D.C. Office
261 Russell, Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-5852
Fax: (202) 228-5097 

Published in The Sopris Sun on Feb. 16, 2017. 

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