Nearly 3,000 women, men and children rallied for women’s rights and human rights at Dayton’s Courthouse Square Saturday afternoon during the Sister March rally held in conjunction with the massive Women’s March on Washington.
“I’m here at this march because I’m a woman,” said Sharon Lane, a Dayton teacher and musician. “I thought I was tired of fighting back in ’67, I thought I was tired and it was done in ‘70, I thought it was over with by ’80. The ’90s, I thought it should’ve been over with and right now I know it’s not.”
“I still have to be out here fighting because I have daughters and granddaughters,” Lane said.
Dayton Police Sgt. Aaron Fraley estimated the crowd at close to 3,000. Protesters filled Courthouse Square and spilled out on the sidewalks beyond.
Speakers on stage talked about the importance of fighting the conservative agenda of President Donald Trump and the Republican-dominated Congress. They said they fear an erosion of rights for women, minorities, non-Christians and lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender people.
March organizer Joy Schwab of the Dayton Women’s Rights Alliance was buoyed by the large turnout.
“The purpose is to bring people together and motivate them to go out and do somehing,” Schwab said.
She told the crowd they need to keep talking, resisting and calling their congressional and state representatives. She said calls are more effective than letters so they should “keep their phones ringing.”
Ellie Tripp, 32, of Dayton and Janelle Dixion, 28, of Beavercreek were at the rally with Dayton Indivisible For All, a local branch of a new national grassroots effort that Tripp said will use “tea party” techniques, such as speaking out at town halls, to fight Trump’s agenda.
Carol Costa of Dayton is also involved with that group, she says because she fears what Trump will do, including repealing the Affordable Care Act.
“I’m here to support women’s rights and justice for all,” Costa said.
Dayton resident Kaleb Barlow, 16, came with his dad, Eddie Barlow, 35.
“We need time to stand together and yell for why we love each other,” said Kaleb. “We can’t sit back and let the anger consume us. The people can bring change.”
Debbie Young of Bethel Twp., said she is a lesbian and a cancer survivor who benefited from the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that pre-existing conditions be covered by health insurance.
As someone also who “believes in protecting our environment, who is pro-choice and believes in equality for all, how could I not rise up?” Young said. “And I will continue to be a warrior for peace, love, hope and harmony.”
People need to actively resist now and then vote in two years when Congressional seats and statewide offices are on the ballot, said Elaine Johnson.
“It’s so important that women have a voice and speak up about what is important to us,” Johnson said. “I think it’s wonderful that we got 3,000 people. They’re not all women. They include old, young, every sexual orientation and our brothers as well.”
Retired nurse Yvonne Curington, 69, of Harrison Twp., said she used to treat women who had been injured in illegal abortions and she fears Trump will appoint Supreme Court justices who will overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion in 1973.“As long as I can put one foot in front of the other and words come out of my mouth I will be fighting,” Curington said.
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