Jane Fonda, Gloria Allred rally Sundance crowds in Park City (w/video)
They stress the importance of organizing, women’s movement
Several thousand people rallied at City Park on Saturday morning, one of the busiest days of the Sundance Film Festival, in a scaled-back follow-up to the Women’s March on Main in 2017, trumpeting a range of issues favored by the political left and vowing to continue the resistance to President Trump and the Republican Party.
It was a star-studded affair with actress Jane Fonda and prominent attorney Gloria Allred featured on a list of speakers that also included others from the entertainment industry as well as political figures. The event, known as the Respect Rally, drew a crowd of Parkites and people from outside of Utah.
The Park City Police Department estimated the attendance at approximately 2,500 while organizers pegged the number at approximately 4,000. The police did not report law enforcement problems but said there was bad traffic as the time of the rally approached. There was a law enforcement presence at City Park with outside agencies reinforcing the local police.
Fonda drew cheers during her remarks to the crowd. She noted the GOP has won gubernatorial campaigns and lower-level offices in addition to the White House. She urged the crowd to learn about grassroots activism opportunities in their own communities, likening work such as that to the civil rights movement.
“It happens through organizing,” Fonda said. “That’s how all the important changes in this country have come about. Rosa Parks wasn’t just any black woman who decided not to give up her seat. She was a trained organizer with the NAACP.”
She noted the media presence during Sundance as she argued for the expansion and protection of public journalism.
“We have to counter the right-wing echo chamber,” Fonda said. “Disillusioned voters must be reached by a media they can trust to tell the truth. Everything is at stake. We’ve got to give it all we got, and we can do it. Time is up.”
Allred spoke about the women’s movement of the past year in her comments to the crowd. Allred led the crowd in saying the words “resist, insist, persist, elect.”
“This is the year that women’s voices have been heard, the year when women broke our silence about the injustices we have suffered, and the year where we said to rich, powerful, famous men you can break our hearts, but you cannot break our spirits,” Allred said.
She demanded respect and rights for “our daughters, our granddaughters, our mothers, our sisters, our lesbian sisters, gay men, transgenders and all minorities.”
The crowd cheered throughout the speeches, huddling together close to a covered stage put up for the event. Many held signs against the president. One featured a picture of Trump against the backdrop of a Russian flag with the words “Make Russia Great Again” while another read “Shame on Trump’s shutdown,” a reference to the government shutdown that started just hours before the rally. One of the others said “Still Not My Pres.” and another professed a person’s support of the investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller into Russian influence on the election.
One of the speakers on Saturday, Sadie Ortiz, was especially notable for the people in attendance from Park City. She is a 17-year-old junior at Park City High School who lives in Prospector, giving her direct ties to the community. The crowd greeted her warmly even at an event where other speakers are recognized across the country. Ortiz’s brief remarks included comments about the importance of voting.
In an interview afterward, Ortiz said teens today sometimes forget life exists outside of high school, and she wants to convey the message of young voters. She acknowledged she was nervous speaking to the crowd.
“It’s really important to have someone in power that is someone we can actually look up to and someone that doesn’t want to shut off voices and someone that actually wants to help all people and all minorities,” Ortiz said in an interview.
The Respect Rally was organized one year after the Women’s March on Main, also held during the film festival. The event in 2017, staged the day after Trump took office, drew between 7,000 and 9,000 to Main Street and Swede Alley. It was the largest demonstration in Park City’s modern history. The Respect Rally was not expected to match the crowd size of the Women’s March on Main, but the event on Saturday was itself one of the largest demonstrations held in Park City.
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The Project for Deeper Understanding on Tuesday seeks to start a dialogue among local leaders.