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Feminist voices at Utah Capitol urge women to become politically active

SALT LAKE CITY — Women's voices from every stripe of life converged in the Capitol rotunda for a rally on the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature.

Amplifying Women's Voices featured an assortment of guest speakers Thursday, including representatives from the League of Women Voters of Utah, Utah Women of Color Council, Transgender Education Advocates of Utah/Utah Pride Center and Planned Parenthood Teen Council.

Sue Robbins introduced herself as the "first transgender individual" of the Utah Pride Center. She mentioned the transgender women of color who led the Stonewall riot that launched the LGBT movement.

"Transgender women have a long history of stepping to the front and working to create change. We come together in solidarity with all women of differing intersectional identities," Robbins said.

Ma Black, representing the LatinX Community Advocate, introduced herself to the rally as a "immigrant woman."

"Because many of my immigrant sisters don't have this chance," Black said.

"Today we celebrate you. We honor and acknowledge you: mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts and all the women here and around the world," she said.

Sadie Ortiz, a junior from Park City High School speaking on behalf of the Planned Parenthood Teen Council, said she's the first in her family who will graduate from high school and then be the first to attend college.

Ortiz said it has been difficult to grow up in the United States, having to navigate the obstacles of racism and sexism.

"As a member of the younger generations, I'm here to empower youth. They are the future. Their voices deserve to be heard, and we need to hear their voices," she said.

"The systems of power do not include minorities — people of color, the LGBT community, or women. We all deserve equal representation, right? Aren't we tired of seeing oppression, the systematic racism, the slurs? We all need to unite, fight and speak for what we want and deserve," Ortiz said.

"That's our future," said Karrie Galloway, representing the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah.

"We need to make sure we are registered to vote. We need to make sure we know who we are voting for. We need to make sure we know what that person stands for. Or we could run for office," Galloway said.

A lot has happened at the Utah Legislature during it's 45-day session, she said.

"If the women and sisters who are here with us have inspired you, or if something the Legislature (has) done has discouraged you, you must speak out. We have learned from teens in Florida, we have learned from MeToo and TimeOut that we have to speak our truth," Galloway said.