Bainbridge woman marches for a cause

Published 6:30 pm Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Bainbridge resident Kim Rippere drove to Washington, D.C., to participate in the Women’s March held there Jan. 21 because she wanted to make her voice heard.

“It was about standing up for American values, inclusion, LGBT rights and progressive values,” she said.

She picked up a few friends along the way and they stayed in a hotel in Virginia.

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She reports their hotel, as well as most of the others, were full of marchers.

A friend had knit several pink hats and she stood in the lobby handing out the extras to other marchers.

They were directed to the route and rode the Metro— again full of pink hats. The march had obtained a permit for a certain number of people, but so many more came out than was expected that Rippere and her friends couldn’t see or hear anything, and their march turned into a stand-still.

“I basically stood in one place all day, jammed in by 650,000 people,” Rippere said. “We chanted and did our own thing.”

As it turned out the march was cancelled at 11 a.m. because of the size of the crowd, but Rippere didn’t know it.

“In some ways it didn’t happen because so many people jammed the area you couldn’t march,” she explained. “For all the right reasons I didn’t march.”

Rippere said she grew up in a time when members of her family and friends were not political, and that is why she loves seeing young people today getting involved in politics.

“I think young people will become more aware of what is going on,” she said.

She attributes the events of 9-11 in awakening her political side.

As a professed Atheist, she founded Secular Women, an Internet site focused on the separation of church and state. Her aim is to encourage others to step forward and freely express their beliefs.

“I can’t imagine a time in American history, except for the Civil War, where people are more divided in what it means to be American,” Rippere said. “People today are afraid, and it is not like a reasonable fear. Their pedestal is cracking and they are afraid of the ‘other.’ I think there are unreasonable fears on the (political) right about the ‘others’ and reasonable fears on the left about losing their families and jobs.”

She returned from Washington more determined than ever to be heard and make a difference. Besides using Twitter and Facebook, she said she is in daily contact with her representatives.

“I have a script, giving my name and zip code, and I give my position on the topics of the day,” Rippere said. “I anticipate they will listen to me.”

She plans to participate in future marches, such as an LGBT march planned for Washington in June, a tax march in mid-April and an event termed a “one-day general strike” in February.

“It’s about how much flak you’re willing to put up with,” she said. “I think Trump is an anathema to American values.”