Organizer of Idaho Womxn's March Previews 2019 Demonstration, Responds to Criticism from Boise Events Committee 

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Harrison Berry

No, the "x" in "Womxn's March" isn't a typo.

"We slipped the 'x' into 'Womxn's March' to be more inclusive to all, to be more inclusive to transgender and non-binary folks," said Maddie Oppenheimer, the Boise High School junior directing community outreach for the event.

At a Jan. 9 meeting of the City of Boise's special events committee, members of the panel were critical of march organizers for what they saw as a lax attitude toward working with city and other concerned officials, with one of the members saying that if he "had his druthers, [he'd] pull the event right now."

Oppenheimer acknowledged that "mistakes had been made."

"I was trying to get all the permitting, and we had some issues about going to the Grove Plaza. We don't have enough money for that," she said, adding that because of the event committee's concerns, the event will not include an actual march. Additionally, Oppenheimer said, in 2020, student-organizers will enlist more adult help to ensure things go smoothly.

"I think we're going to run it a lot different next year. We'll have more adults in delegating and working with permitting and fundraising. We need more adult support," she said. "This is a student-led, student-run organization, and in the past, we haven't had a lot of adult input and assistance, but right now, we're a week away from the march and we need help."

In 2017, the first year of the Women's March, approximately 7,000 people attended the event outside the Idaho Statehouse; and in its second year, some 5,000 people attended. This year, Oppenheimer said she expects the Saturday, Jan. 19, rally should draw about the same number as  the second year of the event.

That may have something to do with who Oppenheimer and others have on tap for the keynote speaker—former White House Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri, whose reflections on working at the highest levels of national politics will complement the local politicians, high school students, LGBT people and local tribal representatives who will address the crowd.

The objective, Oppenheimer said, is to mirror the principles of the national Women's March, addressing topics as diverse as LGBT issues, health care, the pay gap, women of color, domestic violence and more.

"The principles we're mirroring are the national Women's March. All of our speakers really want to match or align with as many of those issues and principles as we can," she said.
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