GLENS FALLS — On the same day the federal government officially shut down, throngs gathered in downtown Glens Falls to march in protest of a government they say has gone completely awry.
“Hey, hey, ho, ho, Donald Trump has got to go,” the packed crowds chanted again and again while waving protest signs and marching around Centennial Circle toward City Park at noon Saturday.
“What does democracy look like?”
“It looks like this.”
“What does democracy look like?
“It looks like this.”
And in a rhythm of call and response, Catherine Atherden, a Democrat who was recently elected to the Queensbury Town Board, led the crowd on a megaphone in chants for several minutes while they were stopped at the downtown roundabout.
Saturday’s women’s march, called “March On,” marked the anniversary of last year’s Women’s March and was the second time in a year that millions of women and men gathered around the world to protest President Trump, his actions and decisions, and to call other lawmakers to task.
“I cannot believe what our representatives are doing to our country and our rights,” said Kim Harvish of Queensbury, who also marched in last year’s Glens Falls Women’s March.
“This has gotten me off the couch,” said Onalee Lippman of Queensbury. “We figured it would be OK and it would work out, but they have done a great job helping me see that we have to take action.”
Last year’s Glens Falls march drew between 1,000 and 1,500, and while no specific count was supplied by press time, the crowds appeared even larger, packing both sides of Warren Street beyond a three-block stretch.
What started as a Facebook event page calling for a march on Washington, D.C. by retired attorney and grandmother Teresa Shook of Hawaii, who was troubled about Trump being elected, grew into a Jan. 21, 2017 march of millions in Washington, D.C. and more than 670 sister marches in cities around the world.
But with the passing of 12 months and near daily government crises, the Women’s March has branched into two separate groups: The “Women’s March,” dedicated to political protest; and “March On,” dedicated to voting and elections.
Started by a group of Alabama women who traveled from Montgomery to Washington, D.C. for last year’s march, “March On” leaders believe that resistance alone is not enough and that through their collective power, the government can transform.
And it was this group of women who went door-to-door to keep alleged pedophile Roy Moore from getting elected to the U.S. Senate in a recent special election. Moore, a Republican running in a heavily pro-Trump state and endorsed by the president, did not win. Democrat Doug Jones won the Senate seat vacated by U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions.
According to a recent release, “March On” came together as a “united force to take concrete, coordinated actions at the federal, state and local levels to impact elections and take our country in a better direction.”
On Saturday, the marchers were led to the gazebo in City Park by a group of women drumming and chanting, “People of the earth unite.”
Several of the NY-21 Democratic congressional candidates hoping to unseat Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro, participated, including Emily Martz of Saranac Lake, Katie Wilson of Keene, Ronald Kim of Queensbury, Don Boyajian of Cambridge, Patrick Nelson of Stillwater and Tanya Boone of Granville.
Tedra Cobb of Canton sent a group representing her to the Glens Falls march and she marched in Plattsburgh, said Lynne Boecher, Warren County Democratic Committee chairwoman.
“It’s all about standing up for justice,” said Martz, wearing the familiar “pink pussy” hat. “I’m here in a positive atmosphere ... we’ve held the line ... and there is a distinct feeling of optimism.”