If you go
What: Broomfield Women’s March
When: 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday Jan. 19
Where: Broomfield Amphitheater, 3 Community Park Road
More info: Call 720-432-8388
This year, organizers of the Broomfield Women’s March are joining forces with the organizer of Broomfield’s Martin Luther King, Jr. March.
“They stand for equality, civil liberties and civil rights,” resident Annie Lessem said. “It just seemed crazy to not combine them because they stand for the same things.”
Lessem, who has planned an MLK Day March the past two years, said the first year it snowed, but city crews cleared a path. Last year a march was planned, but an ice storm caused organizers to cancel the event.
“It’s still a pretty new thing for Broomfield,” she said. “It’ll be the third year it’s planned.”
Lessem moved to Broomfield, where her eldest son lives, about four years ago. She sees herself as someone who is concerned about “community-building” and has served a term on the board of the Broomfield Open Space Foundation and currently is on the board for the Broomfield Depot Museum Friends and League of Women Voters of Boulder County.
She also is a part of an English Second Language team at the Mamie Doud Eisenhower Public Library and is drawn to groups that want to serve marginalized populations.
“Since I’m old and retired, I was actually alive when MLK was alive,” she said, “and every place I’ve ever lived in, we’ve done walks on MLK Day — singing songs you would sing during the Civil Rights Movement of the ’60s.”
When she moved to Broomfield, she asked about an event and heard responses along the lines of “we don’t have very many black people here.”
“I thought ‘that’s crazy,'” she said. “That’s like saying we can’t celebrate Presidents Day because we don’t have any presidents here. It’s a federal holiday. Why shouldn’t we celebrate?”
Martin Luther King, Jr. was an important person with important ideas, and ideals, who made a huge contribution to the country, she said, and to not acknowledge that is to chose to ignore history.
“Telling people ‘let’s go for a walk’ is fairly simple,” she said.
She encourages people coming to this upcoming Women’s March to also bring signs with either MLK quotes, pictures or concepts.
With the current state of politics, Lessem said it’s important people not forget what King stood for and the impetus behind his life’s work.
Broomfield is as diverse now as ever, she said, but the number of minorities living in Broomfield is irrelevant from an MLK perspective.
“People need to listen to what he said and respect him because he was part of a minority and was brave enough to say those things,” Lessem said. “You don’t have to be a minority, or marginalized, to believe what he said is important.”
Kathy Ayala, chair of the Broomfield County Democratic Party, has helped coordinate the Women’s March along with Broomfield resident Wendy Fiedler who started the first event in 2017.
Fiedler originally invited women from her book club to the Broomfield Amphitheater the same morning the national Women’s March was planned. Approximately 225 people from around the region showed up.
Last year, that number nearly doubled.
This year, the event likely will feature speaker Jennifer Keowen, a student at Mountain Range High School in Westminster. Fiedler said she expects her speech to focus on diversity, LGBTQ and African American communities.
In the past, the speaker portion has been followed by a walk around the pond and, for those who want a farther trek, down to 120th Avenue and around to Main Street.
Organizers have touted easier parking, a lesser commute, and overall lighter crowd as an incentive to stop at Broomfield’s marches, especially for older residents, families with children and those with disabilities.
“The goal behind it is to provide people in Broomfield an opportunity to show support in our community without having to travel to Denver,” Ayala said.
The event will go on, rain, shine or snow.
Council members are invited to the event, but none will be asked to speak.
Personally, Ayala participate because she feeles there is an attack on women’s rights — health care, birth control and overall disenfranchisement, Ayala said.
Last year, there were comments that focused on sexual assault allegations raised against Harvey Weinstein and a host of other men.
“I was surprised so many people showed up last year,” Ayala said. “The #MeToo movement was just getting started.”
This year, she feels a possible theme could centered on voters rights, considering the recent Georgia elections.
“It evolves over time, but it remains much of the same,” she said.
Fiedler said to her, the emphasis always has been women and children’s issues, including giving them a voice and leadership platform.
“The point is to be kind and caring and respectful and supportive of each other,” Fiedler said. “It’s about diversity and being inclusive.”
“Us partnering with MLK just speaks to that spirit of cooperation,” Fiedler said.