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2,000 rally in Northampton for social, economic justice on anniversary of Trump inauguration

  • Marchers in the 2018 Northampton Women’s March gather at Sheldon Field Saturday morning, in preparation for a march on downtown, one year after the inauguration of President Donald Trump. Gazette Staff/Caroline O’Connor

  • Activist punk band “Prone to Mischief” plays as crowds gather Saturday morning at Sheldon Field in Northampton, in preparation for the first anniversary of the Women’s March. Gazette Staff/Caroline O’Connor

  • The crowd gathering for the Northampton Women’s March, likely numbering more than a thousand people, parts to allow a last-minute disabled attendee park. Only handicapped accessible spaces are left at Sheldon Field as of 11 a.m. Saturday. Gazette Staff/David McLellan

  • Lola Mullen Colaizzi, left, and sister, Tilly Mullen Colaizzi, right, attend the women’s march held in Northampton with their mother, Merritt Colaizzia, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018. GAZETTE STAFF/CAROLINE O’CONNOR

  • Liz Ryan, center, member of activist punk band “Prone to Mischief,” plays the trombone during a women’s march, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, at Sheldon Field, Northampton. GAZETTE STAFF/CAROLINE O’CONNOR

  • Liz Ryan, center, member of activist punk band “Prone to Mischief,” plays the trombone during a women’s march, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, at Sheldon Field, Northampton. GAZETTE STAFF/CAROLINE O’CONNOR

  • Gail Shapiro, center, plays for the activist punk band “Prone to Mischief” and wears a sign in her hat that states “still here! Still nasty! Still voting!” during a women’s march that began in Sheldon Field, Northampton, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018. GAZETTE STAFF/CAROLINE O’CONNOR

  • Sunderland natives Marcia Curtis, left, and Asheley Griffith, right, grip an official “we the people: women’s rights” poster during a women’s march held in Northampton, on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018. GAZETTE STAFF/CAROLINE O’CONNOR

  • Ellen Goldsmith of Northampton, left, and Pamela Schwartz, right, protest for women’s rights during a women’s march held in Northampton, on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018. GAZETTE STAFF/CAROLINE O’CONNOR

  • Above, Pamela Schwartz, left rear, Ruth Folchman, center, with blue hat, and Jenna McGibney, center right, hold “Time’s up!” signs while leading a crowd of hundreds away from Sheldon Field to begin the Women’s March in Northampton, Saturday. Brenda Kennedy Davies, right front, of Progressive Pioneer Valley, leads the chants. Below left, Corrina Riley, right, a Holyoke native, holds a poster with a feminist symbol. Below right, Megan McGrath, a Holyoke native, center, raises her own handmade poster. GAZETTE STAFF/CAROLINE O’CONNOR PHOTOS

  • Brenda Kennedy Davies with Progressive Pioneer Valley, center, announces and is one of many women who led the women’s march held in Northampton, on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018. GAZETTE STAFF/CAROLINE O’CONNOR

  • Rachel Maiore with Progressive Pioneer Valley is one of many women who led the women’s march held in Northampton, on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018. GAZETTE STAFF/CAROLINE O’CONNOR

  • Megan McGrath, Holyoke native, center, raises her own handmade poster during the Women’s March Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018. GAZETTE STAFF/CAROLINE O’CONNOR

  • Johanna Callard, left/holding right hand of puppet, created a puppet for the women’s march on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018. The puppet symbolizes compassion and love and has the words “be the change” written on it. The march took place in Northampton, Massachusetts. GAZETTE STAFF/CAROLINE O’CONNOR

  • Annalee Beek, center, holds a handmade poster stating “love trumps hate” during a women’s march held in Northampton, on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018. GAZETTE STAFF/CAROLINE O’CONNOR

  • Sonja Matthew, 6, center, holds a handmade poster of the american flag with hearts instead of stars during a women’s march in Northampton, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018. GAZETTE STAFF/CAROLINE O’CONNOR

  • Sonja Matthew, 6, left, and Ava Neuner, 6, both Springfield natives, protest with handmade posters during a women’s march held in Northampton, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018. GAZETTE STAFF/CAROLINE O’CONNOR

  • Hundreds of people gather at Northampton town hall during a women’s march held in Northampton, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018. GAZETTE STAFF/CAROLINE O’CONNOR

  • Hundreds of people gather at Northampton town hall during a women’s march held in Northampton, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018. GAZETTE STAFF/CAROLINE O’CONNOR

  • Corrina Riley, right, a Holyoke native, holds a poster with a feminist symbol during Saturday’s march in Northampton. GAZETTE STAFF/CAROLINE O’CONNOR

  • Mia Flower, front left, Marleyna George, back center, and Sidney Key, all students of Northfield Mount Hermon, hold up their own handmade posters during a women’s march held in Northampton, on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018. Gazette Staff/Caroline O’Connor



Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 24, 2018

NORTHAMPTON — One year ago, thousands of people rallied at the Women’s March on Washington, and hundreds of communities across the world, including Northampton, held their own marches to advocate for women’s rights and social justice for all peoples.

On Saturday, women, men and people of all backgrounds and identities marched again.

“The Women’s March: Hear Our Voices, Here Our Vote” drew nearly 2,000 people to Northampton. The event took place a year after the inauguration of President Donald Trump, and, for many, was a chance to reflect on the past year and demand change.

Hundreds of people began rallying at Sheldon Field for the march late morning. Many wore pink hats — more were carrying signs — and voiced their opposition to the president and his policies, and support for gender and wage equity.

At approximately 11:10 a.m. the march got underway to the chanting of “Love, not hate, that’s what makes America great.”

At least 1,000 people were present at the beginning of the march, which stopped again at 11:15 a.m. because Bridge Street was not yet closed to cars.

Some of the drivers in the last cars on the street before it was closed held their horns down in a continuous roar of support for the marchers.

In front of Bridge Street School, peace activist Frances Crowe, 98, of Florence, calmly watched the marchers from her wheelchair and smiled.

Her pacifist quest has been a fight in itself at times, and she has been arrested many times protesting nuclear power plants and pipelines. She said the Women’s March gives her hope for peace and women’s rights.

“It’s great; it’s absolutely uplifting,” Crowe said. “Just look at all these women.”

Susan Spencer, of Florence, attended the inaugural Northampton Women’s March.

“I think it’s great. You need to show up,” Spencer said. “I was wondering if there’d be as many people this year. I think there is.”

Reflecting on the past year, Spencer said, “I think it’s not one bit better.”

Behind her, someone held up a sign reading “Worse than we thought.”

Lindsay Sabadosa, director of the Pioneer Valley Women’s March, did not know beforehand how many people to expect. The Facebook page for the event indicated Friday evening more than 1,900 people intending to march. The same page indicated about 10,000 were interested in the event.

Causes and signs

Chants at the front of the nearly mile-long train of people called for politicians like Trump and Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker “to go.”

Brenda Kennedy Davies, from Progressive Pioneer Valley, led marchers with impassioned rally cries.

“When women are under attack what do we do?” Davies shouted.

“Stand up, fight back,” responded the crowd.

Causes such as allowing Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, or “Dreamers,” to stay in the country, and protecting the planet from climate change, were represented among the signs and banners.

“We’re doing this for everybody. This isn’t just about women,” said Shelley Hines, of Wendell.

Standing next to Hines, Judith Breier, of Northampton, held a sign saying, “Science is not a liberal agenda.”

“It’s ridiculous,” Breier said of climate change deniers. Breier and Hines both said the world needs to act fast to combat climate change, or its effects could be irreversible.

“We have to protect the planet. There’s not enough money in anyone’s coffers, not even Trump’s,” Hines said.

Despite frustration toward the president, his policies and government inertia on social justice causes, many marchers were cheery, laughing, joining in chants of “People! Power!” and expressing hope for the new year.

At City Hall

The classic protest and civil rights song “We Shall Overcome,” sung by folk duo and sisters Katryna and Nerissa Nields, greeted the marchers as they reached their destination. The song, however, featured some new lyrics.

“We’ll take the Senate back someday,” “We’ll take the House back someday” and “We’ll protect the Dreamers today,” the singing crowd echoed fervently.

Sabadosa, who helped organize the march, talked about the first women’s march and the past year.

“And now, finally, it is 2018,” Sabadosa said. “The tagline of today’s march is ‘hear our voices, here our vote,’ and we are taking that message with us to the polls this November.”

Sabadosa also summed up the causes the marchers are fighting for.

“We must absolutely remove from office every single politician who puts money and power over the lives and well-being of the people,” Sabadosa said. “We need representatives to look like the people they represent. We desperately need women, whatever their anatomy may be, and people of color to take their rightful seat at the table.”

She then told the crowd that the U.S. was founded on “lofty principles” only intended to help a certain few.

Another speaker, Marleny Amaya, a Salvadoran immigrant in the U.S. under temporary protected status, told her story. Amaya, who has two children who are U.S. citizens, said her life in the country is threatened by the Trump administration’s plans to end protected status for immigrants.

“On a personal level, as a mother and as a woman, I want you all to denounce Trump’s decision to end TPS. I want you to fight for the legalization of all 11 million undocumented people,” Amaya said through a translator. “The only thing that we want is the well-being of our families. We are working women, and we are willing to fight.”

Other events

Related events followed the rally: an activist fair in the basement of the Unitarian Society and a Women’s March documentary screened at First Churches; “45 Years of Roe: A Sweet Celebration” at Click Workspace; and 413 Fierce Femmes: Women’s March After-Party at Bishop’s Lounge.

In Greenfield, the Franklin County Women’s March took place at the Town Common and Court Square. In Pittsfield, activists held the March Into Action Resource Fair and Community Forum at the Colonial Theatre.

David McLellan can be reached at dmclellan@gazettenet.com