HUDSON–For the second year in a row local organizers staged a Women’s March and rally on the same day as similar gatherings in cities around the country.
The Saturday, January 20 event here appeared to draw between 2,000 to 2,500 participants–women and men of all ages, including families with children. According to police and march organizers, the crowd was larger than last year, when the original Women’s March followed by a day the inauguration of President Donald Trump.
Saturday’s march began at 7th Street Park, which was filled with demonstrators, many carrying signs in support of Planned Parenthood, a co-sponsor of the event, as well as for equal pay, equal rights for women and an end to sexual harassment. In addition to demanding policy changes, the signs criticized President Trump and Congressman John Faso (R-19th).
Indivisible CD 19 NY was the lead organizer of the event. The group describes itself as “concerned citizens committed to fighting the Trump agenda of hate, racism, authoritarianism and corruption in our local area.” Its website is www.cd19indivisible.org/.
As the roster of 10 scheduled speakers neared its conclusion, the protestors drifted from the park onto Warren and 7th streets so the march down Warren to Basilica Hudson on the waterfront could begin. In the lead was a brass band, whose musicians were embedded among other march participants.
The temperature hovered in the mid-40s and the sparse January foot traffic consisting of shoppers, merchants and tourists along the city’s main commercial street reacted favorably as the protesters passed by.
At Basilica Hudson, another co-sponsor of the event, march organizers offered to register voters and provide refreshments.
While there were much larger women’s marches elsewhere Saturday, including New York City and Albany, organizers had emphasized in advance the need for people concerned about the president and Congress to demonstrate locally, and the speakers, all of them women, urged all those present to become involved in the political process and offered a list of issues that require attention and public engagement.
Assemblywoman Didi Barrett (D-106th) represents central and southern Columbia County including the City of Hudson. She was introduced to the crowd at 7th Street Park by activist Joyce St. George as “someone who’s not afraid of us.” Ms. Barrett thanked Planned Parenthood for its participation and then addressed the federal government’s shutdown, which began that day, saying, “Now we have a government in Washington that would rather shut down than adopt a reasonable immigration policy.”
Local activist Pam Klein introduced Jabin Ahmed, a writer, artist, activist, educator and founder of Hudson Muslim Youth. Ms. Ahmed invited all those present to commit to ending domestic violence, human trafficking and sexual slavery and to work for equal pay for women.
Dr. Cricket Coleman, newly elected Columbia County coroner, said she had never considered running for public office before she was asked to become the Democratic Party candidate in last November’s election. Just the thought of running, she said, was “terrifying to me,” despite her credentials as a former New York City medical examiner. But now, having been elected by a comfortable margin, she encouraged women in the audience to get involved in the political process, something she thought would be impossible for her to do until she did it. “We can matter and we do matter,” she said.
Kathy Leck Eldridge, newly elected Greenport town supervisor, said she is the first woman ever elected supervisor of her town. She too urged women to seek public office, adding that she sought office with facts and ideas.
Elena Mosley, director of Operation Unite, began her remarks by thanking families who brought the children to the march, saying, “My children are going to inherit the world.” But the focus of her remarks was on the struggle to achieve pay equity for women. At the present rate she said it could take than a century for women to earn the same as men for the same work, and even longer than that for black and Hispanic women to achieve that goal.
She asked those who support pay equity to observe Equal Pay Day, April 10.
County Democratic campaign organizer Erin Stamper asked women to join her “in taking a step outside of your comfort zone and say yes. Say yes to engaging the messed world of electoral politics…. There are so many levels to jump in to help take back our government. Stuff envelopes, carry petitions, send texts, make calls, knock on doors, Run For Office!”
“This is what democracy looks like,” she said.
Democratic Party committees from the county, Claverack and Hudson were also among the sponsors of the march.
A Hudson Police Department supervisor said Sunday that the number of march participants appeared to have exceeded the number who participated last year, estimating between 2,000 to 2,500 marchers. Harry Franklin of Indivisible CD19 NY, who had images from a drone operated by Glenn Wheeler, said by email Saturday night that the number of marchers was definitely more than 2,000 and possibly greater than 3,000.
Last year Hudson Police Chief Edward Moore said the size of the was about 1,200 people.
Police reported no incidents during the event.