I guess there really is a first time for everything.

As a resident of Clatsop County for the last six years, I have paid my taxes, picked up trash on the beach, volunteered for several worthwhile organizations and paid attention to what’s happening locally and in the wider community. I grew up in a white, middle class family in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s when it was considered very impolite to talk about religion and politics around the dinner table, let alone stand on a street corner in broad daylight with a protest sign.

Now I’m ready to march down a city sidewalk with hundreds of like-minded women and men in support of something I thought was expected in our society — respect. I was wrong and naïve, so consequently I will be walking in Astoria Saturday, Jan. 21 in the Astoria Women’s March. That is the day that women all over the country will be involved in organized activities, marches and rallies to raise awareness of the dangerous tone and rhetoric of the incoming administration.

But this letter is not about what I personally believe. That will be clear enough on Saturday. It is about the fact that I can freely and without fear, express that belief. The fact that I can join a group of local women, some working, others retired, busy with families, businesses and ordinary life who are taking the time to organize and take action is frankly remarkable.

Bravo ladies! Bravo to the men, partners and families who support them, and bravo to the community who listens. We are all better for this.

Please support us Saturday, Jan. 21, at noon at 12th and Exchange streets, as many of your neighbors and friends from the Columbia/Pacific area will demonstrate for the rights of everyone to peacefully express their opinions about the need to protect the environment, the safety of minorities, women and others, health care and education for all, and above all, respectful discourse.

Pat Wollner


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