NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – It was inspired by the Women’s March on Washington, the Pioneer Valley Women’s March organized Wednesday’s rally to celebrate International Women’s Day. In a sea of red, women embraced each other, celebrating their accomplishments of the past, present, and future.
More than 300 women marched through downtown from the Women’s Center to Pulaski Park, which was organized by the Pioneer Valley Women’s March in less than 2 weeks. Along the way, these women stopped at the Inequality Graveyard they build near city hall. It represents all of the issues the women believe don’t belong in our country, such as racist, sexism, homophobia, and unequal pay.
Those who participated wore red, a color long associated with the labor movement, and held signs declaring their beliefs. Paulo Freire Social Justice Charter School cancelled all classes so students and staff could attend the march. Staff member Brenda Cepeda Penolaza explained it was an important decision for the staff to make, since one-third of everyone in the school is a woman. “We want to be equal,” said Penolaza. “Equal in pay, equal in decisions. It took us a long time to get where we’re at right now, and we have ways to go, so this is really important to us.”
March organizers say it’s small gatherings like these that push the women’s movement forward. “If nothing else, we are fortifying ourselves, because we feel under attack,” says organizer Rachel Maiore. Organizer Lindsay Sabadosa agrees, saying, “No movement has ever started without people taking to the streets. So we have to keep taking to the streets, we have to take it to the streets repeatedly.”
Click here for more events and information on the Pioneer Valley Women’s March.