Simply earlier than 10 a.m. on Saturday morning, tons of of protesters gathered outdoors the Everson Museum of Artwork for the 2019 Women’s March Syracuse — a mere 18 hours after organizers had formally acquired their rally allow.
The delayed course of got here in consequence of the federal authorities shutdown, leaving occasion organizers trying a number of strategies earlier than lastly securing their metropolis authorization.
“It was a lot of us, working hard,” stated Nodesia Hernandez, a New York state-licensed paralegal and one of the occasion’s organizers. “It was hard work.”
In a span of solely two weeks, Hernandez and different volunteer organizers coordinated the Women’s March Syracuse — unbiased from the nationwide Women’s March — in an effort to “celebrate the diversity of Syracuse.” Regardless of snowy circumstances and under-freezing temperatures, about 700 individuals gathered at the Everson Museum Plaza for a one-mile stroll to the College United Methodist Church on East Genesee Road.
Some marched for reproductive rights and pay fairness, whereas others joined at the moment’s rally in solidarity with members of the LGBTQ, immigrant and refugee communities. Some protesters added they have been drained of the state of the present presidential administration.
“We have to keep up the pressure on this administration,” stated Maria Norris, a senior movie scholar at Syracuse College’s Faculty of Visible and Performing Arts and member of the Worldwide Socialist Group-Syracuse. “We can’t get desensitized to what’s happening, even if it’s happening every single week.”
For Nada Odeh, a Syrian artist and the lead occasion organizer, points surrounding President Donald Trump’s journey ban hit near residence.
“For me, it was hard to get involved with the first march,” Odeh stated, since the first-yr Women’s March was “a stressful time” as a result of of the political environment. She had by no means been closely concerned with political activism earlier than, however she determined to become involved this yr after politics prevented her household from coming to the United States.
Odeh graduated with a grasp’s diploma in museum research at SU in spring 2018. Her mom’s visa was rejected previous to her commencement ceremony.
“It was a very painful moment for me because I was hoping to have her see me graduate and that she’d be part of my celebration,” Odeh stated in an interview a couple of days earlier than the march. At the occasion Saturday, Odeh shared with the crowd how troublesome it was to speak together with her mom on the telephone that day — her mom was in tears, she stated.
When planning the march, Odeh stated the aim was to mirror the Syracuse group by inviting audio system and performers who symbolize all voices inside the metropolis. Syracuse has 86 spoken languages, Odeh stated, which aren’t extensively represented by the metropolis.
Odeh’s activism runs in the household. Her daughter, Mariam Sarraj, helped plan the occasion and was one of two banner holders at the entrance of the march. The banner, a patchwork-impressed poster created by volunteer Patricia Szlamczynski Stassi, learn “Women’s March Toward Intersectionality Syracuse 2019.”
“To me, the march isn’t the culmination of our efforts,” Stassi stated. “It’s the beginning.”
For Odeh, it’s essential to assist younger activists, like her daughter, since “they are the future.” She likened activism between generations to relay races in the Olympics, the place athletes should collaborate to have the ability to cross the torch.
Odeh’s dedication to supporting youth in the group is clear in her recruitment of Max Mimaroglu, who turned 16 years previous this week. Mimaroglu stated he needed to make use of his earlier expertise from working for the Syracuse-based March for Our Lives that passed off final March to make sure this demonstration went as easily as attainable.
Resulting from the authorities shutdown, Mimaroglu was in cost of scouting the place the occasion might happen. Whereas Mimaroglu was closely concerned in the committee, he stated he needed the occasion to focus solely on the audio system and their tales.
“I think ideally, in a perfect world, we would have a committee solely made of women … Ran for women, by women,” Mimaroglu stated. “Hopefully and eventually … it can be 100 percent women-led.”
One younger Syracuse-raised lady, Nottingham Excessive Faculty scholar Brynn Murphy-Stanley, stated this yr’s march is extra inclusive than earlier ladies’s marches however nonetheless wants enchancment. She stated marches reminiscent of these are simpler for white ladies to take part in however much less accommodating for ladies of colour who work.
Her sister, Aydan, a psychology and European historical past main at SU, stated there’s a cut up between SU and the metropolis of Syracuse — a divide between the wealth of the faculty and the metropolis’s poverty.
“I know there is some tendency with SU kids to kind of view SU and Syracuse as two separate things,” Aydan stated. “But we’re so close to campus that I don’t think they can ignore this.”
Individuals in Saturday’s march included males, ladies, youngsters and non-binary people ranging in age. Whereas the record of visitor audio system for the demonstration included individuals from numerous racial, ethnic, cultural and professional backgrounds, the majority of activists have been white.
Though this yr’s march attracted a youthful era of activists, one group of members has been marching collectively for many years — since the 1960s and early 1970s. Kip Monaco, a Syracuse resident, and some of her buddies started partaking in protests throughout the Vietnam Struggle.
“I think it’s bubbled up again like it did in the ‘60s,” Monaco stated. “It may be even stronger in some ways because we’re being pulled in a direction that’s negative and upsetting and doesn’t sit right with our nation’s ideals and our own personal ideals.”
Whereas the majority of protestors have been ladies, males like Corbin Bryant marched for the ladies in his life. Bryant stated he was marching right now to emphasise ladies’s proper to healthcare. He mirrored on a time when his mom needed to help his household whereas additionally battling breast most cancers.
“I would hope that all the women in my life get the healthcare they need,” Bryant stated.
After a half-hour-lengthy stroll that crossed underneath Interstate 81, protesters congregated in College United Methodist Church. March organizers, activists and visitor audio system filtered into pews and lined the chapel partitions. Behind the podium, rainbow-coloured flags have been draped over the altar.
Visitor audio system included group members and native politicians, every sharing their perception relating to present points and hopes for the motion going ahead. Khadijo Abdulkadir, a world relations main at SU and founder of the New American Women’s Empowerment, stated she embraces her id as a Somali Muslim lady regardless of present stereotypes towards her faith and nationality.
“When they ask, ‘Are you proud to be an American?’ I say, ‘I will be proud when you are proud to have me,’” she stated whereas addressing the crowd.
Joseph Driscoll, Syracuse’s fifth district Widespread Councilor, spoke on behalf of the metropolis’s racial segregation and sophistication disparity consequently of I-81, urging attendees to rally behind the proposed group grid choice. Following his speech, Driscoll pulled out his guitar and performed a canopy of Buffalo Springfield’s anti-struggle anthem, “For What It’s Worth,” as the crowd sang in concord.
The youngest speaker, Amiah Crisler, a sixth grader from Edward Smith Pre-Okay-eight Faculty, spoke of the generations of activists who got here earlier than her — Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Ruby Bridges and Audre Lorde — who every encourage her artistry.
“We march to tell young girls and women they are not alone,” she stated. “We march because women marched yesterday so we could march today.”
Individuals cheered and she or he broke a smile.
The crowd delivered a standing ovation as she completed her speech and extra applause crammed the chapel.
Her father, Shaun Crisler, stated whereas Amiah could also be too younger to completely grasp all the things that was stated at the march, listening to from different ladies at this age might assist form her worldview.
“I think when you’re younger, it’s easier to learn this kind of stuff rather than when you’re older. It’s not gonna stick in your head or matter as much,” Amiah stated after her speech. She additionally shared her hopes for Syracuse and the way the metropolis can work towards options for points like gang violence.
Hernandez, taking to the podium one ultimate time, pointed to the American flag scarf wrapped round her neck. In place of the conventional white stars and stripes, hers featured beige combined with shades of purple and blue — a symbolic nod to the totally different racial and ethnic identities interwoven into the material of the United States.
As the demonstration got here to an in depth, the phrases of Maya Angelou’s “Phenomenal Woman,” recited by Hernandez, echoed by means of the halls of College United Methodist Church.
“‘Cause I’m a woman, phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, that’s me.”
— Managing Editor Aishwarya Sukesh contributed reporting to this text.
Revealed on January 19, 2019 at 10:05 pm
Contact Kelsey: [email protected] | @writtenbykelsey
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