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Women's March links DC, Seneca Falls & CNY, While Right-to-Life March Blocks Away

Elana Sukert/WAER News

An estimated 2000 people, gathered at the Federal building in Syracuse the day after Donald Trump was inaugurated as president.  That was just one way residents protested the new President and some of his policy proposals. 

Earlier in the day hundreds boarded buses in Dewitt and elsewhere around Syracuse to head to Washington for the Women's March there.  The Bishop Harrison Center drew hundreds for a separate event that ...

The day was also the 44th anniversary of Roe v. Wade Supreme Court Decision that legalized abortion, drawing more than a hundred people to a rally near Columbus circle in Syracuse.  


Credit Kay Hutchinson
The crowd in Seneca Falls for the event topped 3000.

  Mother, daughters, sisters, fathers, brothers and sons all came out Saturday voicing an attitude of hope at the Women's Rights National Park in Seneca falls. People were singing in the streets the Woody Guthrie classic  "This land is your land", holding painted signs, and including a new generation in a peaceful democratic protest. Beth Hershel from Rochester, NY came with her daughter, parents, sister and nieces to the rally and described the importance of bringing children to the march. 


"This is their first protest and I have two daughters and it is really important to teach them to speak up because they are the future."


As the birthplace of the women's rights movement, the historical significance did not go unnoticed by the crowd. Conner O'Sullivan met up with his sister Emily O'Sullivan to protest together


"Its really cool because it is the story of the Women's suffrage movement with Susan B. Anthony. There are so many great people out today and the signs are so creative." 


Members from all over the Upstate community joined together in solidarity. Michelle Shenandoah, a member of the Oneida Nation, participated in the opening events with Women's Dance Songs.  

Credit Elana Sukert/WAER News
Annie Missel with baby autumn, Marylou Krueger, Duane Kruger Beth Hershel, kids Evelyn Missle (l) and Genevieve Hershel (r), were all part of the group that ventured to Seneca Falls

"We came today as a representation and a reminder of the historical roots of women's rights and the influence the Haudenosaunee women had upon the women's liberation in this country. Talking about freedom and talking about the original sources of freedom in this country."

The reflection of today's events, with a background of the past, was reiterated as many of the marchers felt that this was a pivotal  moment in history that many people want to share with their families.  Maddie Brown brought her younger sister Haley Brown to march. 

"It's a really important part of history and I feel if I had the chance to do it when I was younger, I would not want to miss out on something like this."

The crowd topped 3,000 hours before the march, causing police to shutdown many local streets.  


More than 2000 people flooded the west plaza outside the Federal Building in Syracuse Saturday.  

Organizers say they were not just there in support of women's healthcare, reproductive rights and equality, but also in support of minorities, LGBTQ rights and environmental protection.  They say all are threatened under the incoming Trump administration.  

People at the event pledged to continue to protest and resist to influence policy.


Credit John Smith/WAER News
The even featured tables called "speak your truth", where people wrote anti-Trump messages, along with environmental, diversity and other thoughts

  Another event in Syracuse was billed as the people's inauguration, involving political, community and other groups.  Hundreds went to the Bishop Harrison Center on the city's east side to show their support for women's issues, as well as peace, action to address global warming and other issues they feel President Trump will let slip or that he will oppose in his policy proposals.  

Part of the solidarity and teach in event was a play with a mythical rich man who wanted to build a hotel and golf course by driving villagers away.  While not mentioning Mr. Trump by name, the implication was the priorities of the rich over the people and their rights.  

Credit John Smith/WAER News
Jackie Chapman came from Cortland to the People's Inauguration event

  Jackie Chapman from Cortland came to the event.  She doesn't take the President at his word.

"He made it sound like he's speaking for everyone, and he wants everyone included.  But in my heart I don't trust those words.  I don't feel he said anything."

Organizers and attendees say they need to organize and keep up resistance and opposition on issues important to them.  

"In the past year we've watched a man and a party rise to political power by exploiting racism, xenophobia, islamophobia, misogynism, and homophobia.  We've watched him promise to make these the bedrock of policies at the highest levels of government.  We've also watched these promises embolden violence in our streets and our communities."  


Credit Tom Honan
CNY protesters joined Washington's packed streets, carrying some of what became a sea of signs espousing support for women's rights, diversity, minorities, equality and peace.

  At least 10 buses took hundreds of people to the massive event in Washington DC.  They joined people from many different states.  Many boarded buses at midnight to get to the rally on time, only to climb right back on a bus after and come back.

The CNY contingent was part of an estimated 200,000 or more, a crowd described by some as bigger than the inauguration gathering.  

Groups such as Women's TIES, which supports women entrepreneurs organized a bus.  One left from Le Moyne college for students and staff there. Members of the Onondaga Nation Clan Mothers were headed down.  

Credit Tom Honan
Some of the creative scenes CNY women and men participated in during the DC rally.

Some of those who went described the gathering as a sisterhood of Black, Hispanic, Muslim, Asian and others with the purpose to show Donald Trump they are united.   They pledged to stand together on issues that effect everyone, black, white, gay, straight, old and young.   

  Most echoed concerns that the Trump administration could be a setback for women's rights and wanted to join the outcry.  


Credit Chris Bolt/WAER News
More than 100 attended Syracuse for Life rally.

  More than 100 people gathered in front of the Syracuse Catholic Diocese office, though they did not make connections to the inauguration.  Instead Syracuse Right-to-Life was acknowledging the 44th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade abortion decision at the Supreme Court of the United States.   

The gathering included people with signs against abortion, a position some feel might get more support with the changes in Washington and possible Supreme Court changes.  This year's event also tied-in the issue of assisted suicide, something New York State's legislature is considering.  Dr. John O'Brien spke to the group and says there are a number of concerns past simply helping a suffering relative end their life.

"There's no safeguards in there as far as, if a doctor prescribes the pills.  There's other people involved.  The nurse who sends the prescription in, the pharmacy people.   And we don’t know where i goes after that.  We don't know if the patient ever gets the pills or somebody else would take the pills.  There’s no safeguards in the laws.  We’ve seen all these things happen in other states and other countries."

O'Brien adds that the proposals usually allow assisted suicide or right-to-die for someone with six months to live.  He notes most doctors have diagnosed someone with six months to live, only to have them live much longer.  



Chris Bolt, Ed.D. has proudly been covering the Central New York community and mentoring students for more than 30 years. His career in public media started as a student volunteer, then as a reporter/producer. He has been the news director for WAER since 1995. Dedicated to keeping local news coverage alive, Chris also has a passion for education, having trained, mentored and provided a platform for growth to more than a thousand students. Career highlights include having work appear on NPR, CBS, ABC and other news networks, winning numerous local and state journalism awards.