On Saturday, January 19th, almost 2,000 people gathered in downtown Portsmouth for the second annual Women’s March.
Due to the large turnout, an agreement was made with Portsmouth city officials to change the event from a march to a gathering so that it wouldn’t be as disruptive.
At 1:00 pm, the MC for the afternoon, Sandra Koski, kicked things off by singing “Never Turning Back” by Pat Humphrey.
From Left to Right: Oyster River Students Riley Chinburg (‘18), Emily Allyson (‘18), Shivika Aggarwal (‘18), Kristen Manderville (‘17), and Jessie Barker (‘18) held their signs up proudly. “Just by coming here we’re all taking action and making an important step towards bettering our rights,” said Aggarwal.
“When we hear women say I will stand up for black lives, I will stand up for immigrant justice I will stand up for LGBTQ, say me too!” says speaker Judy Stadtman, the Campaign Coordinator and Field Director of the New Hampshire American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), as she pumps her fist in the air. The crowd echoes her by screaming, “Me too! Me too! Me too!” Stradtman commented on how it will take more than a popular hashtag to permanently change the balance of power, and how women need to take affirmative actions.
Penny Brant, a student at Phillips Exeter Academy and former ORHS student spoke on the differences she saw between America and China. “When I moved to America from China at age eleven… I was met with an overarching expectation from my teachers, peers, friends, and any adult in my environment, to achieve less simply because of my gender,” said Brant. “Not because of my work ethic, not because of my team dynamic, not because I was disruptive or a bad person. Simply because of my gender, my work was denied.”
“Even though what we’re doing is great, our feminism can’t just be putting on a hat and holding a sign,” said Nooran Alhamdam, a woman of Arab descent, an American and a Muslim. “Our feminism has to be about full-fledged resistance and revolution to change an entire sexist society.”
A young boy held up an, “I’m with her” sign as Ginny Towler-black speaks in the background. “I decided to travel and try to understand the world… and guess what I learned in all of those travels of mine. That we’re all the same…we’re human beings,” said Towler-black.
After the speakers, the Leftist Marching Band, an activist street band, jammed out in the center of the crowd. They energized the people with songs like Lady Gaga’s “Born this Way.”
People slowly filled out as the band finished up, and the second annual Women’s March came to a close.