Women’s March looks to election
Hundreds of Newarkers march for women’s rights
Hundreds of Newarkers took to the streets Saturday, joining thousands of people nationwide marching in support of women’s rights.
This year’s marches were intended to build on the efforts of the first Women’s March, which was held the day after President Donald Trump was inaugurated.
“Now we’re a year older and wiser,” said Karen Barker, who helped organize the Women’s March on Newark. “We have a better sense of the work that needs to be done.”
The marchers began at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Newark on Willa
Road, walked to Main Street and then returned to the church, where several politicians and activists addressed the crowd.
While last year’s march was about expressing concern over the direction Trump was taking the country, this year’s was about channeling that anger into action – particularly at the polls this November.
“Last year, people were getting activated and motivated. Now, it’s time to take that a step further,” said march organizer Donna Shand, who estimated the crowd between 800 and 1,000 people.
Speaker after speaker encouraged the women in attendance to vote for female candidates – and consider running for office themselves.
“Washington and Dover, you are on notice,” Democratic state senate candidate Laura Sturgeon said, drawing cheers from the crowd. “Change is coming, and it’s wearing a pink hat.”
Sturgeon, a teacher at Concord High School and a board member of the state teacher’s union, is challenging Republican State Sen. Greg Lavelle in District 4, which encompasses Greenville, Hockessin and part of Pike Creek. She said she wants to be part of the “pink wave” of female candidates energized by Trump’s election.
An early example of that “pink wave” is Stephanie Hansen, who addressed last year’s Women’s March as a candidate and returned Saturday as a state senator.
Hansen, a Democrat, was elected last February in a special election for the District 10 state senate seat vacated by newly elected Lt. Gov. Bethany HallLong. The race drew national attention and garnered nearly $1 million in donations. Democrats framed it as voters’ first chance to strike back at Trump, and the GOP viewed it as a chance to take control of the state senate for the first time in four decades.
Hansen told the crowd Saturday that she saw first-hand the concern many women had as she campaigned doorto-door in the days and weeks after Trump’s inauguration.
“[Some] came to the door so distressed, they were actually in tears,” she recalled, noting the sense of despair soon morphed. “It turned to anger, then turned to resolve.”
State Rep. Paul Baumbach chal- lenged the marchers to vote in every election regardless of how uninteresting it may seem and to support candidates who share their values even if the candidate isn’t perfect.
“Politics can suck,” Baumbach said. “Most issues are boring as heck. Politicians can be boring as heck.”
Still, he argued, it’s important to vote. “We can turn every election in every district if we turn out,” he said.
Dounya Ramadan, a Newark Charter School student who runs the school’s Feminist Club, said she’s “tired of waking up every day to an unjust world” and called for an end to discrimination and division based on race, gender and national origin.
“We are humans above all,” Ramadan, 17, said. “What should stand out is our unity and commonality.”
A marcher holds a sign in front of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Newark after the Women’s March on Newark.
Hundreds of people participated in the Women’s March on Newark on Saturday morning.
Attendees gather at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Newark to hear speeches following the Women’s March on Newark.
A woman listens to speeches from several local political leaders and activists following the Women’s March on Newark.