2019 Tucson Women's March Speakers & Lineup
Sam Cloud is the President of Tucson Pride. Sam, a Native Tucsonan, is a social worker with a passion for her hometown community.
Serving as a social worker in the community for nearly 20 years primarily in the nonprofit sector, Sam began her career as a Sexual Assault Response Advocate with SACASA, providing crisis intervention to recent survivors. Sam continued her passion for crisis intervention by later supporting survivors of domestic violence with the local organization Emerge, and has extensive experience providing mental health services through many behavioral health agencies as well as serving our military in the mental health clinic on DMAFB.
A community organizer at heart, Sam has played an active role in a variety of community activist events such as Take Back the Night and Dine Out For Safety. Sam lives by the words “Well behaved women rarely make history”. In 2007, she was honored with the Vagina Warrior Award for her passion, efforts and dedication to ending violence against women.
She loves spending time with her five children, ranging in age from 9 to 19 years old, who she refers to as her future army of social workers and activists. They often attend community protest events together, and when they aren’t trying to change the world, Sam and her family enjoy traveling and spending time in nature, where they feel the most connected to their Native roots.
Sonia Valencia Economou
Women's empowerment and anti-racism
An 8th generation Arizonan and a 6th generation Tucsonan, Sonia Valencia Economou will be speaking on women's empowerment and anti-racism.
She is President of the Board of Directors at the YWCA of Southern Arizona and is committed to serving her Tucson community as a change-maker and advocate for eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.
Sonia has been employed in the public, private, and non-profit sectors in Tucson, including 20 years at the U of A and as an entrepreneur. She currently leads a cancer research development team at HTG Molecular Diagnostics. She received her Bachelor’s degree from U of A, her Master’s degree from NAU, and a graduate certificate from ASU. Sonia has been married to Mark Economou for over 22 years and they have a 17 year-old son, Victor, and a daughter, Ariana, who passed away from cancer 5 years ago at age 14.
Rev. Shermaine Fort
Compassion, tolerance, justice
For over 30 years, Rev. Shermaine Fort has brought her message of liberation, spirituality, and love. Rev. Shermaine shares the ministry of the Water of Life Metropolitan Community Church in Tucson with her partner, the Rev. Alana Ragland.
Rev. Shermaine will be closing our event by speaking on compassion, tolerance, and justice.
Missing and murdered Indigenous women
April Ignacio is Tohono O’odham and a mother to five. She studied religious studies and history at the University of Arizona but is especially proud of her Associates Degree from the Tohono O’odham Community College.
A community organizer, April has conducted and is continuing her research of Tohono O’odham – Missing Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
April is also a founding member of Indivisible Tohono, a grassroots organization that provides opportunities for civic engagement and education for members of her Nation. April will be speaking on missing and murdered Indigenous women.
A senior at Catalina Foothills High School, Peris Lopez worked with other local high school students in 2017 to organize an 8,000-person march, then lobbied in Washington, D.C. for common sense gun legislation. She now serves as the Tucson Organizational Director for the national March for Our Lives movement.
Thus far, Peris has overseen 11 voter registration drives at different local high schools, contributing to the total 3500 students registered by the Arizona March for Our Lives chapter. Peris will be speaking on gun violence.
Music & Dance
Brie Darling was the vocalist, drummer, and percussionist for Fanny, the first all-female band to release an album on a major label, and is now with Fanny Walked the Earth. She has recorded and toured nationally and internationally, and performed on videos with Carole King, Jimmy Buffet, Robert Palmer, Roger Daltry, Ringo Starr, ELO, Keith Moon, and Sam Moore, among many others. In addition, she has acted in numerous films, TV shows, and theater productions. A resident of Los Angeles, Brie performed Fanny Walked the Earth's new feminist anthem, When We Need Her, with local singer Heather "Lil Mama" Hardy.
Tucson's premier gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and ally chorus, Desert Voices brings beautiful music to Arizona, forging a positive and resolute LGBTQA presence in the community. Learn about the singers.
Esperanza Dance Project
The Esperanza Dance Project works to eradicate the stigma, secrecy, and shame associated with childhood sexual violence. The Esperanza Dance Project aims to raise awareness about childhood sexual violence and delivery a message of hope, strength, and empowerment to audiences through high school multimedia performance tours in Arizona. Our very own Marian Arthur is part of the Project. Read the dancers' profiles.
Heather "Lil' Mama" Hardy &
Adiba Nelson and
Dr. Judith Riley
Sexual violence and violence against women
Dr. Judith Riley is an Obstetrician-Gynecologist who has spent her career providing healthcare to women. She was the Medical Director for the Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault for 10 years.
She is currently on the Board of Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse. Emerge provides domestic abuse crisis intervention and housing, prevention, education, support, and advocacy services to anyone experiencing domestic abuse, regardless of gender.
Tohono O'odham poet