CHESHIRE, CONNECTICUT - At least five women from Cheshire are planning to be among the hundreds of thousands of women who plan to go to Washington, D.C. on Saturday to show support and take part in the Women’s March on Washington.
According to the event's website at www.womensmarch.com and Facebook event page at http://bit.ly/2eKDgj2, the rally is a way to "send a bold message to our new administration on their first day in office, and to the world that women's rights are human rights." Combined, as of Monday 377 “sister” marches will be held in each state and throughout the world on the same day, including the Connecticut Women’s March scheduled to be held in Stamford on Saturday.
Cheshire residents Diane Visconti, Kerrie Dunne, Anne Harrigan, Renee Barley and Connie Catrone are all on the same page on why they feel strongly motivated to make the trip to Washington and take part in the main march.
They can’t pass up the opportunity to show their disdain for Trump, his rhetoric and his divisiveness along with the chance to show support for women’s rights and human rights in general.
At a round table discussion on Sunday at Cheshire Coffee with Visconti, Dunne, Harrigan, Barley and Catrone, they agreed this worldwide event isn’t simply a rally or a march, it’s a movement.
“When it comes to progress, when it comes to human rights, you don’t stand still, you don’t go back, you move forward,” Barley said. “I’m attending this march for my kids, Alvin and Andrea - one is a millennial and the other a Gen Xer. This is about their futures. We live in an aspirational, multi-cultural country and what we saw from the Trump campaign this past election cycle wasn’t respectful of that.
“I’m a child of the 60s. I know what it’s like to take part in other marches. I had to do something. All humans are created equal, but we still have women who struggle. Women represent more than 50 percent of the country’s population and we need to step up. The Women’s March on Washington is an opportunity to do that on Saturday.”
On Nov. 8, when Donald Trump pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the political world and was elected president, there were mixed emotions.
Trump won the election with 306 electoral votes to Hillary Clinton’s 232. While the 62,979,879 people who voted for Trump were happy (many were ecstatic), the 65,844,954 who voted against Trump were stunned, and many are still reeling from the result.
On Nov. 9, Teresa Shook of Hawaii created a Facebook event page and invited 40 of her friends to march on Washington, D.C. to protest Trump's election. Similar Facebook pages quickly followed and were created by Evvie Harmon, Fontaine Pearson, Bob Bland, Breanne Butler. Those Facebook pages and others quickly led to thousands of women signing up to march. A domino affect ensued, the Facebook page creators joined forces, organized and the Women’s March on Washington was born.
“This past election was so divisive with so much anger,” said Dunne, who will be wearing her pussyhat at the event. The “Pussyhat Project” is a nationwide effort to knit pink hats to be worn during the Women’s March on Washington. The hats are named because of the cat ears on top. “The election left me with a very sad feeling for our country.
“This march in Washington is a chance to show unity with all of us who are going there. Women should be treated with equality and dignity. I hope being a part of this event brings back the good feeling I used to have.”
Connecticut’s Democrat U.S. Representatives Elizabeth Esty, Rosa DeLauro, John Larson, Joe Courtney and Jim Himes will meet with Connecticut marchers at the Women’s March on Washington. They have extended an invitation for a reception they will host for Connecticut residents who march in Washington, D.C. from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the 2165 Rayburn House Office Building.
“I'm proud to be joining hundreds of thousands of folks from Connecticut and across the country at the March on Saturday,” Esty said. “Democracy works best when all of us make our voices heard and that's more true now than ever before.
“We must stand up for our American values. We must stand up for the Constitution and we must stand up for the rights and dignity of all people. The March on Washington and those around the country on Saturday will put both Congress and President-elect Trump on notice. The American people will oppose any effort to roll back the rights of women or to roll back the civil rights that heroes like John Lewis and so many others have fought for throughout our history.”
Based on the number of buses that have permits to park in Washington, D.C., the indications are the number of people expected to attend is growing for the Women’s March on Washington.
According to Internet reports, including the Washington Post’s website, there are 393 bus permits for Trump’s inauguration compared to 1,200-plus bus permits for the Women’s March on Washington. Nearly 200,000 participants are expected for the Women’s March on Washington with the potential for a million marchers nationwide as participation numbers grow as the event day approaches.
“This march isn’t just about Trump or Trump’s people,” said Harrigan, a member of the Cheshire Board of Education. “And it’s not just about women’s issues. This is about respect for all human beings. It’s about being supportive of all people and all the issues when it comes to human rights. We can have disagreements but we can still support each other.
“You don’t get that from the Trump camp. It matters what Trump says, what he Tweets. As president of the United States of America, he can’t continue to degrade people. The reason I’m going to the march is to do my part to see that respect comes back into our lives, to see that human rights in general are shown respect.”
Connecticut media outlets have reported that over 80 buses are expected to leave from the state for the Women’s March on Washington. While Visconti will be driving to Washington, D.C., Dunne, Harrigan, Barley and Catrone will be taking one of the 16 buses expected to leave from the IKEA parking lot in New Haven at 1:30 a.m. on Saturday.
“Donald Trump is very frightening to me,” Catrone said. “We’re at huge risk of having very many institutions of our country dismantled. I also feel terrible about his cabinet nominations like Education Secretary (Betsy DeVos) and Health and Human Services Secretary (Tom Price).
“Another thing that frightens me is Trump’s desire to end Obamacare. My daughter and I are both on Obamacare. I’m self-employed and have been on Obamacare. Because I’m self-employed I think I would not be insurable without Obamacare. I’m going to Washington because there is a lot at stake.”
According to its website, the Women’s March on Washington will begin with a rally from 10 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. at the intersection of Independence Ave. and Third Street near the U.S. Capitol. The march will follow after the rally. Among the celebrities expected to attend are Katy Perry, Amy Schumer, Cher, Debra Messing, and Julianne Moore.
“I’m going to the march because you have to stand up to a bully,” said Visconti, a former Cheshire Town Councilor. “Trump is the bully-in-chief. Doesn’t it bother you that this guy got to the highest level in our country after constantly insulting people and professing his love of (Russian president Vladimir) Putin?”
In an effort to get people to participate with other people from their own state at the Women's March on Washington, colors have been assigned to each state for people to wear. Connecticut has been assigned the color purple and everyone from Connecticut going to the march are asked to wear something purple.
You can still join the march in Washington, D.C. or the Connecticut march in Stamford. For more information, go to the Women’s March on Washington Facebook event page, or their website, or the march’s Connecticut Chapter Facebook page at http://bit.ly/2iJnb2W .