Women’s March looks to elec­tion

Hun­dreds of Ne­wark­ers march for women’s rights

Newark Post - - FRONT PAGE - By JOSH SHAN­NON jshan­non@ches­pub.com

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.

NE­WARK POST PHO­TOS BY JOSH SHAN­NON

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.

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