WILMINGTON — More than 70 people rallied at noon Saturday at the Clinton County Courthouse in a sister march in support of the simultaneous Women’s March on Washington and marches in 673 cities around the world that drew millions of participants.
As local organizer Joy Brubaker told those attending in Wilmington, organizers hope to “send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office and to the world — that women’s rights are human rights.”
Local protestors carried signs that read, among other things, “Love first,” “Healthcare is a human right,” “Rallying for our daughters,” and “We will not accept sexism, racism, homophobia, or xenophobia and bigotry.”
Candice Royer of Wilmington said she was there because, along with generally threatened rights, human-services jobs funded by grants are also at risk.
“These things affect people drastically, in so many ways,” she said, pointing out that she lost a job when funding was cut.
“I am terrified of what is going to happen to us” in terms of human rights, Royer said, referencing the news that already the new White House website had been scrubbed of its previous sections about civil rights, climate change, healthcare, and LGBT issues.
One of the men rallying at the courthouse was Eric Butterbaugh of Fayette County, who said he was there because he cannot accept the language and actions that President Donald Trump has used to denigrate women, Mexicans, and people with disabilities, as well as the way Trump has treated African-Americans in the past.
“I was raised to treat women with respect. I’m 19 years old, and he’s 70 years old, and I can’t believe he doesn’t do that,” Butterbaugh said.
Butterbaugh said if a more respectful candidate had won the presidency, such as Jeb Bush, he would not have felt pressed to publicly protest, but that Trump’s behavior as the president of a nation that voted for its first black president eight years ago is unacceptable.
“It’s unreal that (Trump) was actually elected president, even though the majority of voters voted against him, but that’s a whole other problem that we have,” he said.
Brubaker said the national mission of the marches is to support the advocacy and resistance movements that reflect multiple and intersecting identities, and that participants call on all defenders of human rights to join in protest.