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MARTHA SEZ: America shows the power of protest

January 26, 2017
By MARTHA ALLEN , Lake Placid News

The Women's March Global was held on Jan. 21 in all 50 states and on all seven continents.

Marchers are estimated to number 500,000 for Washington, D.C., 200,000 for New York City, 150,000 for Chicago, 100,000 for Denver, Boston and London, 5,000 for Paris and Sydney and 30 for Antarctica. Lewis, New York, can boast 300 marchers.

As they watched huge crowds of men, women and children-and occasionally dogs-many of them carrying placards-yes, even the dogs-many people who were not involved in the protest demonstrations wondered aloud what it was all about. Donald Trump, after all, was just inaugurated as president of the United States the day before all of those marches. "Give him a chance," they say.

Marchers, however, were clear what they were about. Trump's "America first" attitude worries many both at home and abroad, as do misogynistic sexual remarks caught on videotape and released to the public. Marchers interviewed said they were supporting equal rights for women, immigrants, the disabled and the LGBTQ community, as well as climate change awareness and arts and culture, all of which they believe to be threatened under Trump.

On Facebook, the stream of photographs taken by friends and relatives who marched all over the country took me by surprise. So many people! So many pink hats! As one of my cousins pointed out, knitters and yarn purveyors had a heyday.

The design for the fuchsia or magenta kitty cap that has become a symbol of the budding movement was created at the Little Knittery shop in Atwater Village, Los Angeles.

According to "The Eastsider LA," "Kat Coyle came up with the pattern ... after being devastated by Hillary Clinton's loss to Trump in the November election. That's how they came up with the 'Pussyhat Project'- a reference to Trump's infamous remarks that were caught on tape - to support the Women's March."

I haven't seen a pattern, but from photographs I'd say that the hat is a knitted rectangle, composed of rib stitch and stocking stitch, that can be folded over and sewn up the sides to make a cozy cap. The corners of the rectangle will poke out like ears at the top. March organizers are telling women to hang on to their hats for future events.

Lewis is home to a famous suffragette, Inez Milholland. Born in 1886, she graduated from Vassar the New York University Law School. At the age of 25, riding a white horse, she led a parade of feminists from every state in the union down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. It was the day of Woodrow Wilson's presidential inauguration, and they were demanding the right to vote. Milholland did not live to see the enfranchisement of women; she died three years later.

The men, women and children who participated in the Lewis march began with a ceremony at the Milholland family grave site at the top of the hill in the Lewis Cemetery. Some people brought flowers to leave on her grave. Organizer Sandra Weber asked marchers not to carry harsh anti-Trump signs.

While some questioned the purpose of marching at all, others I spoke with thought the events could have been more pointedly feminist, more organized, or more focussed on specific political goals, with political speakers; but this is a new movement. I was taken with the signs carried by marchers in various locations, which convey the basic concerns of the protesters.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming: The truth will set you free, but first it will p- you off.

Jackson, Mississippi: Boys will be (the word boys, crossed out) held accountable for their actions.

London: A woman's place is in the boardroom.

Ajijic, Mexico: No al muro

Madison: Don't forget to set your clocks back 300 years!

Denver: Good night, Obama, good night moon, good night legally unrestricted womb, good night science, good night facts, good night corporate income tax, good night water, good night air, good night equal rights everywhere!

I was glad to see that my old alma mater, the University of Michigan, has not relinquished its tradition of political protest. Stands serving free bottled water and hot dogs were set up along the parade route in Ann Arbor, and a typically highminded and longwinded U-M placard read "Feminism isn't about making women strong. Women are already strong. It's about the way the world perceives that strength."

Power to the people, and have a good week.



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