ACT for Women and Girls leads march for reproductive justice in Visalia

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ACT for Women and Girls’ Women’s March returns this Saturday at Oval Park in downtown Visalia

By Nancy Vigran Reporting for the Sun-Gazette

VISALIA – ACT for Women and Girls is taking the lead in this year’s Women’s March Visalia on Saturday, Jan. 19.
Last year, some 1,000 locals participated in the March which started at College of the Sequoias and headed down Mooney Blvd. Following the March, several speakers addressed reproductive rights among other women’s issues.
This year the March will begin at noon in Visalia’s Oval Park. Anyone interested is invited to participate.
“We got involved because it is very important for us to join forces with all women and our allies across the region who want to make an impact for women,” said Erin Garner-Ford, ACT executive director. “As one of the only organizations addressing women’s issues through a reproductive justice lens, we are able to talk about the many issues that impact the lives of women living locally.”
ACT was formed as a 501C3 non-profit, “committed to eradicating the oppression that lies deep in the roots of Tulare County and its surrounding Central Valley region.” The goal according to the organization’s mission statement is “To engage women of all ages in leadership opportunities that will promote social and personal change.”
“The Women’s March is a recent historical event highlighting the many issues women face in our communities and our nation,” said Sarah Marquez, ACT program director. “As we prepare for the third annual event, we are faced with the controversy on the national front, and we are faced with obstacles here at home.
“As a Visalia March organizer and a member of this community I can acknowledge that not all women and their allies are included or celebrated in marches across the nation. In an effort to be more inclusive and accessible to women who may lack the privilege to travel across the country or the city, we choose to hold our march at Oval Park,” Marquez said.
She added the Oval is a central part of our community, not only figuratively but geographically as well.
“Oval Park and the Northside of Visalia are historically underserved and an undervalued part of our city. There is a rich history of local food and culture in the area. Children and their families live and go to school here,” Marquez said.
For Marquez, her family has called the Northside home for more than three generations. And she finds it important to have a presence in an area like Oval Park. She says it helps to break down stigma, and show the women who live in the area that they are essential to the success of Visalia and Tulare County.
ACT has received many awards including Activists of the Year in 2016, awarded by Tulare County Political Action Committee; Organization of the Year in 2014, awarded by Soroptimist International of Visalia; Bold Move in 2014, awarded by the American Society for Emergency Contraception and the International Consortium for Emergency Contraception; and the Gloria Award in 2015, named after Gloria Steinem and awarded by the Ms. Foundation for Women of Vision.
For more information regarding the March or ACT, call 559-738-8037, or email [email protected].

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