Unity – the power and strength of women who come together to effect change -- was the message at the 2019 Women’s March in Hartford.
Organizers of the Hartford event made a point to promote diversity and call for union in a time where talk of division in the social movement for women’s rights has dominated the headlines. That's come particularly after allegations of anti-Semitism as of one of the national march’s founders failed to distance herself from Louis Farrakhan, a Nation of Islam leader who has insulted the Jewish community.
“Some people have thrown some doubt into this movement. I say “hell no’,” said Kaitlyn Shake, one of the organizers of the Hartford march. “We are not going anywhere.”
Shake’s group did identify itself as separate from the national organization that started the March in a press release sent out before Saturday’s March. Nevertheless, as she spoke from the steps of the Capitol Saturday, Shake called for unity.
“We have a lot more work to do and we need all of you to stick with it and move forward together, in unity, with the same purpose because we believe in the United States of America that all people are welcome -- that all people deserve to be loved,” said Shake.
Inclusion has been another point of debate for the Women's March. Althea Webber Bates is the founder of a social movement that she says promotes the resiliency of women, primarily of color.
“I believe that we have a place here and it’s up to us to create that space for ourselves,” Webber Bates said. “Don’t wait for a seat at the table – pull up a chair and make one.”
Melissa Mentzer of West Hartford believes that women have the power to open the government and end the partial shutdown. She said that Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi has the strength to force “the president to negotiate in good faith.”
“All Americans need to be united and not be divided by our differences – especially women,” Mentzer said. “We need to come together and demand that our democracy continue. Part of that is opening the government now. I believe Nancy Pelosi is on the side of the people and on the side of using democratic negotiations in congress to do that.”
The 2019 Women’s March in Hartford began on the south lawn of the State Capitol building. It continued until the crowd made it to the steps of the building. They listened to speakers discuss a variety of topics – from reproductive rights to the plight of undocumented immigrants crossing the southern border of the United States.