Union groups take part in local annual March for Women’s Rights

Hannah Hoyt, Contributing Writer

Chants of “Love, not hate, makes America great” and “What do we want? Justice. When do we want it? Now!” could be heard throughout the Stockade area of Schenectady as an estimated 300 people came out in freezing weather to attended the march from Schenectady City Hall to the Young Woman’s Christian Association (YWCA) on the morning of Saturday January 18. For the past four years people across the United States and the world have gathered in early January to advocate for women’s rights. The inaugural Women’s March happened in 2017 the day after the inauguration of Donald Trump in response to his presidency. . That day was the single largest worldwide protest with total participation estimates reaching over seven million. Each year since, there have been annual protests across the United States, although the number of protesters has been shrinking.

This year was the first time that a Women’s March took place in Schenectady; the last three years the local march has taken place in Albany around the State’s Capital.

The 2020 Women’s March highlighted three issues this year: reproductive justice, immigration and climate change. There were five main organizations involved in the planning of the event: The Northeastern NY YWCA, Progressive Schenectady, Zero Waste Capital District, Moms Demand Action, the Martin Luther King Jr. Coalition of the Schenectady County Human Rights Commission and Planned Parenthood of Greater New York. Two of Union students, Kate Osterholtz ’21 and Spencer Pennybacker ’21, who are the President and Vice President, respectively, of Union’s Planned Parenthood GenAction club, were both organizers of the march. They weren’t the only Union students at the march, with an estimated 40 to 50 students attending. This included members of clubs such as Planned Parenthood GenAction, Women’s Union, the Union College Activist Network and members of Greek Life.

The first speaker Angelicia Morris is the Executive Director of the Human Rights Commission of Schenectady. Her quote, taken from the Daily Gazette, sums up the essence of the march: “it’s about fighting against the ‘isms, and bigotry and hatred that we deal with on a regular basis on 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., so in order to train to fight injustice, we’re putting on our boxing gloves as women and saying enough is enough, bring it on, vote 2020 for women’s rights”.