WILMINGTON — Women’s issues and opposition to President Trump were two causes that brought about 75 people Saturday to the steps of the Clinton County Courthouse.
Sponsored by Clinton County Alliance for Compassion and Truth (A.C.T.), the event featured about 20 minutes from speakers, the singing of two songs, and chanting by participants after they lined the Main Street sidewalk. The Wilmington rally was one of numerous events marking the first anniversary of the large 2017 Women’s Marches in the United States and around the world.
Locally, Joy Brubaker spoke and said she is concerned the legacy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt — specifically, social safety nets — will get dismantled. There is a segment of the population and of politicians dedicated to dismantling the safety nets, she said.
Laura Struve pointed out to the crowd that the 2nd Ward race for Wilmington City Council last November had a gap of a dozen votes, showing how much every vote counts. Democrat Mike Allbright won the 2nd Ward seat, in a county that “voted overwhelmingly Republican in 2016,” added Struve.
“We can make meaningful change; register to vote,” she urged.
A rally participant, Mary Conger of Wilmington, said she was there because she is of a generation that when she grew up, her parents taught her “that this is just the way it is.”
“If you didn’t get a raise, or a job, or somebody said something, that’s ‘just the way it is’,” Conger recalled hearing. “So, for a lot of years I didn’t do anything because I really believed that’s just the way it was. Now I believe it doesn’t have to be that way,” she said.
Brittany Skidmore, the secretary of ACT, said she took part to show her displeasure “with the current administration.”
“I want our country to do better because I know we can do better,” said Skidmore.
Another woman said she just wanted to demonstrate for women’s rights, and show her support for those people who are working against those in office now. She preferred not to give her name for publication.
An organizer led a chant while participants lined the sidewalk: “This is what democracy looks like.” Earlier, the participants sang “This Land is Your Land” and “America the Beautiful”.
The weekend’s U.S. events culminated with a Las Vegas rally where thousands of people poured into a football stadium, to cap off a weekend of global demonstrations that participants hope will continue building momentum for equality, justice and an end to sexual harassment.
“This is a birthday party for a movement that has only begun to flex its power to change this democracy,” Anna Galland, the executive director of the progressive group moveon.org, told the boisterous crowd.
The Las Vegas rally was part of an effort to register 1 million voters and target swing states such as Nevada in the U.S. midterm elections later this year, which potentially could shift control of Congress. Organizers said they are planning future events in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Texas.
Trump dismissed the suggestion that his presidency has been bad for women. He tweeted Saturday that it was a “perfect day” for women to march to celebrate the “economic success and wealth creation” of his first year in office.
“Get out there now to celebrate the historic milestones and unprecedented economic success and wealth creation that has taken place over the last 12 months,” the president wrote. “Lowest female unemployment in 18 years!”
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Reach Gary Huffenberger with the News Journal at 937-556-5768.