HUDSON–An estimated 1,200 people marched down Warren and South Front streets to the Waterfront Park Saturday afternoon, January 21 in one of the many Women’s March events held in cities across the U.S. and overseas.
The local march began at 7th Street Park, where speakers urged citizen action to prevent the loss of rights for women under the administration of President Donald Trump. Hudson Mayor Tiffany Martin Hamilton said the steps already taken by the president to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would end critically important healthcare for women.
Mayor Hamilton said that the gathering Saturday “makes me really, really proud of Hudson.”
The march was organized on short notice by Courtney Brown and Julie Torres, both of whom addressed the crowd and said they had not previously organized a political event. The march in Hudson was announced only recently online, through social media and word of mouth.
Assemblymember Didi Barrett (D-106th) sent a message of support to organizers, saying she was attending the Women’s March in New York City.
Hudson resident Victor Mendolia, long active in Democratic politics in the city and county, said that by Saturday morning over 100 people had confirmed their intention to attend. By 1 p.m. that day many times that number of people filled the south end of 7th Street Park.
Mr. Mendolia and other speakers urged people to contact Congressman John Faso (R-19th), whose nearest district office is in Kinderhook, asking the congressman not to abolish the ACA. Mr. Mendolia said Mr. Faso had already voted in the House to repeal the health insurance coverage law, also called Obamacare.
Mr. Faso said in a radio program on WAMC in Albany last week that he was working with other members of the House to craft a new law that provides healthcare available to all U.S. citizens.
Mr. Mendolia said that input from constituents can affect the actions of lawmakers, citing his own involvement in the efforts of the group Act Up, which convinced the federal government to speed up the review and approval of new drugs that would save the lives of people with AIDS.
Among the other speakers before the march were Hudson Alderwoman Tiffany Garriga (D-2nd Ward), county Supervisor Sarah Sterling (D-1st Ward) and Cyndi Hall, former chair of the county Democratic Committee.
Many marchers carried handmade signs with messages ranging from demands for women’s rights and retaining the ACA to expressions of pride and defiance. There were also signs that ridiculed President Trump’s anti-immigrant and misogynist statements–only a couple of people wore the pink knit “pussy caps” seen at some of the larger demonstrations–or his praise for Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
As the march began organizers asked participants to remain on the right side of Warren Street and they obliged, walking at least four abreast, with the line stretching out at least four blocks. But midway through the march, police temporarily diverted all vehicles from the city’s main street and the marchers filled Warren Street and then South Front Street on their way to Henry Hudson Riverfront Park.
Hudson Police Chief Edward Moore said this week that he assigned two officers to count march participants at different locations and that their judgment was that the crowd numbered 1,200. The chief said the estimate had a margin of error of roughly 200, meaning there could have been as few as 1,000 marchers or as many as 1,400.
He said there were tourists and residents along Warren Street and that the headcounters tried to distinguish between them.
Chief Moore said there were no incidents of any kind reported during the march.
With the temperature unseasonably warm in mid-50s and with clear skies, people from businesses along the march route stood on the sidewalk and waved or clapped as the march passed by.