Clashing GMO Marches on Saturday
Tiffany Thurmond’s face hides behind a gas mask as she faces Fifth Street. She stands in the street and holds a sign for drivers to see. Occasionally, drivers will honk in support of her anti-Monsanto message.
“My biggest concern is chemtrails.” Thurmond, a 48-year-old ultrasonographer, said. “I think that Monsanto’s behind most of it.”
The “March Against Monsanto” and “March Against Myths” were both scheduled to meet at the 2nd and I streets on Saturday in Eureka and end at the Humboldt County Courthouse. Tensions between the two groups resulted in a few shouting matches when the marchers made it to their destination.
People of all ages, from children to the “Raging Grannies,” and dogs participated. A “parading band,” as they preferred to be called, joined in and provided musical accompaniment to the “March Against Monsanto.” The majority of the people at these events were there for the “March Against Monsanto.”
“I would estimate about 175 [people attended],” Cheryl Furman said. “I was really happy with [the turnout.]”
Furman, 54, works in the education department of Mad River Hospital and organized the “March Against Monsanto.”
“I have been organizing the event for the past four marches,” Furman said.
Furman didn’t organize the first march in 2013, but she says she has organized all of the biannual marches against Monsanto in Humboldt since then. Furman said Facebook has played an integral role in the publicity for her marches, which coincide with events around the globe.
“There are millions of people who come out on this day,” Cheryl Furman said.
While Furman and her group marched past the Gazebo in Old Town before heading to the courthouse, Chad White and his group “March Against Myths” took a more direct route.
White, a 42-year-old glass blower, organized the “March Against Myths.” He said he used to be anti-GMO, but he changed his mind when he started to research the topic. White said about a dozen people attended his march to show support for genetically modified organisms.
“I organized the event because I’m sick of the misinformation and science denial,” White said.
White said at some point during the gathering someone took his daughter’s pin and stomped on it. Despite this, he thinks he will organize more marches in the future.
On the steps of the courthouse, White’s daughter holds a sign that reads “citation needed” behind an anti-Monsanto speaker. A woman comes up next to his daughter and starts trying to cover the girl’s sign with an anti-Monsanto sign. The two go back and forth trying to cover each other’s signs for about 30 seconds before stopping.
White said, “For the most part, it’s been quite civil.”
Correction: The story originally stated that the “March Against Myths” was taking a pro-Monsanto stance rather than a pro-GMO stance.