Guest column: ‘There are as many reasons to march as there are women marching’ 

  • A sign is hoisted by a participant in the Women’s March from Sheldon Field to Pulaski Park in Northampton Jan. 21, 2017, to denounce the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO/SARAH CROSBY

This Saturday at noon, women and their allies will walk together from Northampton’s Sheldon Field to City Hall to celebrate our victories and recommit to the work still left to do promoting equity and civil rights. In solidarity with over 245 sister marches around the world, this third annual Women’s March celebrates the record number and diversity of newly elected women in Washington, D.C., western Mass and around the country.

As we cheer our successes, we know the need for resistance is not over. As Angela Davis says, “You have to act as if it’s possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time.” We condemn the president for using our government as a bargaining chip while failing to faithfully preserve and protect the Constitution. We object to the systematic dismantling of protections to keep our air and water clean, to the holding hostage of 800,000 federal workers to build a wall that border patrol experts say is not needed, to the separation of families who are fleeing violence and seeking legal asylum, and especially to the locking of innocent children in cages.

There are as many reasons to march as there are women marching. In 2019, we are more awake than ever to the violence, suppression and misogyny women face in our society. Our sister Jeannette Rivera of Chicopee says, “I march in order to create a world where women who report sexual assault and abuse are believed, are supported, are vindicated and validated. I march to show children the power of solidarity, that we as women have formidable strength, brains and compassion. I march to show that sheroes come in all shapes and sizes, that women lead more than we follow — I march not for myself, but for a more equitable future for us all.”

Marcher Cindy Senk of Springfield says, “I’ve been an activist since the early ’70s fighting for health care, the ERA, rights for differently-abled folks … I continue to march for the rights of my daughter and two young granddaughters.”

We march because, together, we are stronger; the act of coming together helps us know that there is great power in our outrage. Marching unites us with a worldwide women’s movement dedicated to honoring, celebrating and empowering women.

Saturday’s march will be followed by a short rally featuring state Sen. Jo Comerford, state Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa, Mehlaqa Samdani, executive director of Critical Connections, Kamini Waldman, co-vice president of Northampton High School Democrats, and Tanisha Arena, executive director of ARISE for Social Justice. Performers include the Hoping Machine, Prone to Mischief, the Valley Women Drummers, and ZoKi. There will also be an activist fair at First Churches, 129 Main St.

We invite you to join us from 11 a.m. at Sheldon Field for the noon march to City Hall. All ages and genders are welcome.

Rachel Maiore, Barbara Pearson, and Laura Sylvester are the Pioneer Valley Women’s March Steering Committee members. Tweet from the march using #pvwomensmarch.

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