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Women’s march event set for Saturday in Fort Myers

Call to Action Sidewalk Demonstration will line sidewalks from the Edison Home area to MLK Blvd. and Fowler

By KATIE EGAN - | Oct 15, 2020

Saturday’s Women’s March in Fort Myers will be a little different.

The “march” will be a Call to Action Sidewalk Demonstration and the public is required to wear masks and maintain social distance.

The format changed due to the pandemic and organizers say the 10 a.m. to noon demonstration will be extremely safe.

“The important thing is that it’s going to be socially distanced and safe for people to attend,” said Women’s March Fort Myers treasurer, Debbie Canyock. “It’s really to provide an opportunity for people to express what they feel are important issues that should be expressed in this election.”

The recent vacancy on the Supreme Court and the current administration’s rush to fill the seat has heightened the group’s need to bring these issues to the forefront, she said.

Women’s March Fort Myers, Inc. is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, which has organized a Women’s March in Fort Myers for the past two years.

On Saturday, there will be eight action zones throughout the route.

The areas will focus on the environment, healthcare and reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, immigration, women’s rights and the ERA, racial and criminal justice issues, voting rights and economic justice.

“We encourage people to spread out,” Canyock said. “People can go to the area where they’re most interested in and demonstrate.”

The Call to Action Sidewalk Demonstration will line sidewalks from McGregor Boulevard near the Edison & Ford Winter Estates to the intersection of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Fowler Street.

Canyock said more than 300 people attended the 2019 Women’s March and over 600 came out earlier this year for January’s march.

“They were very successful,” she said. “We were very happy.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, 60 people signed up through the national Women’s March’s website and 30 people said they were interested on the Women’s March Fort Myers’ Facebook page.

Cancock expects more than 100 people to attend on Saturday.

“With the pandemic, people still have concerns,” she said. “We feel this will be extremely safe.”

“We have to make sure what we’re doing is safe in light of the current conditions.”

A number of organizations will join Saturday’s Call To Action, including the National Organization for Women – Lee County Chapter, Planned Parenthood, Peaceful Protestors, Showing Up for Racial Justice of SWFL, the Lee County LGBTQA Democratic Caucus, the Southwest Florida Labor Council and the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition.

Some local political candidates, who the Women’s March Fort Myers has endorsed for the 2020 election, also are expected to be in attendance. These include Jacquelyn McMiller, Rachel Brown, Shawn Williams, Joshua Lopez, Danika Fornear, Todd Truax, Jeff McCullars, Connie Bennett-Martin, and Shelley Anderson. Other candidates are also expected to attend.

There will be a photo opportunity with the candidates at 10:45 a.m. at the Lee County Justice Center Complex courtyard, 2075 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Fort Myers.

In lieu of a march, attendees will stand along the sidewalk for the Call To Action Sidewalk Demonstration.

“They’re standing and demonstrating for issues they believe in,” Canyock said. “Holding signs and maybe chanting. We’re trying to encourage people to pick an area and spread out within that area.”

Dogs and pets won’t be allowed at the event and Canyock encourages people to bring water, sunscreen and chairs.

There also will be extra masks on hand.

The Women’s March Fort Myers came about, Canyock said, because the national Women’s March said the public needed to do something prior to the Nov. 3 election.

“The administration is posting a threat to democracy, the Supreme Court, the administration’s refusal to accept the election results,” she said. “All of these things culminated in the national group wanting to do something.”

For more information please go to our website at https://www.womensmarchfortmyers.org/.