People are politically fatigued by the news coming out of Washington, said Annie Reed, co-organizer of the Woodstock Women’s March. “Here’s an opportunity to get pumped up, to renew our spirit and energy and forward-thinking muscles.”
The third annual Women’s March through Woodstock will take a new route this year. On Saturday, January 19, marchers will gather before 11 a.m. on Playhouse Lane, alongside the Woodstock Playhouse, walk up Mill Hill Road, and end at Andy Lee Field, behind the community center, for a rally. Speakers and performers will include musician Amanda Palmer of the Dresden Dolls, activist Liz Abzug, drummer Ubaka Hill, students from the Rock Academy, and many more.
Mill Hill Road and part of Rock City Road will be closed, so attendees should be sure to arrive early and try to carpool, since parking nearby will be limited. Police estimated last year’s march drew 2300 to 2500 people.
Co-organizer Anula Courtis hopes the speakers and musicians will inspire participants to find their own particular role in the politics of the times. “We always tell people to vote, but we also ask what kind of action they’re going to take in their own lives. Some people like to volunteer in the community. People have run for office who would never have thought of it before. Each of us has our own responsibility to figure out what that is.”
Maria-Elena Conte, also an organizer, pointed out all the progress made by women in the past year, from speaking up against sexual harassment and rape to winning seats in Congress. “What we’d like to do is not just to get people motivated, but we’ll also be bringing up charities.” Sunflower Natural Foods Market, which regularly sponsors charities, has given the organizers the month of February to designate recipients of its round-up program. At the cash registers in Woodstock, customers will be invited to round up their purchase to the nearest dollar, the additional payments going to The Table, the town’s new soup kitchen. At Sunflower’s Rhinebeck store, donations will go to Worker Justice Center of New York, which advocates for the rights of immigrants.
This year’s march is co-sponsored by the recently formed Woodstock Human Rights Commission and by the Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center in Kingston. It has also been endorsed by the Woodstock Democratic Committee. At the rally, there will be speeches by local politicians, including Ulster County legislator Jonathan Heppner, town supervisor Bill McKenna, town council member Reginald Earls, the new county sheriff Juan Figueroa, and the youngest of the candidates for congressman in the last election, Gareth Rhodes.
The march will be joined by the activist brass band Tin Horn Uprising, riding a makeshift float. Volunteers are needed to lead chants, serve as marshals during the march, and direct parking at the municipal lots. (No parking will be permitted at the Woodstock Playhouse or the Woodstock Golf Club. See below for other designated parking sites.) Visit the Facebook page to volunteer.
Other Women’s Marches are planned for Hudson and Albany. The first two marches in New York City and Washington, DC, were so packed with people that participants spent most of their time standing still. In Woodstock, the marchers can actually march.
“When they see thousands of us out in the dead of January,” said Courtis, “that’s when they realize we can vote them out. Just look at all that’s happened in the last 12 months.”
On Saturday, January 19, the Woodstock Women’s March will gather on Playhouse Lane and will begin moving at 11 a.m., ending at Andy Lee Field, 56 Rock City Road, where a rally will be held.
Designated parking is in the municipal lots behind Yum Yum (at the intersection of Mill Hill and Rock City Roads) and across from the Colony on Rock City Road. Late arrivals will have to carpool from the west at the Bearsville Complex or from the east at the Woodstock Music Lab (the former Zena Elementary School) on Sawkill Road. Parking is also available at the Woodstock Tennis Club, off Sawkill Road. Organizers are hoping to procure shuttle buses, which will be announced on their Facebook page. Carpooling from outside Woodstock is also being arranged via the Facebook page.
Speakers and musicians appearing at the Woodstock Women’s March rally
Amanda Palmer, one half of the Boston-based punk cabaret duo The Dresden Dolls, has had a solo career including the fan-funded album Theatre Is Evil and the TED talk “The Art of Asking.” Her forthcoming album, There Will Be No Intermission, features themes of life, death, abortion, childhood, and motherhood.
Ubaka Hill is a visionary artist and master drum teacher of hand drums and percussion instruments, known for her art, music performances, workshops, and community initiatives.
Nia & Ness are a black, lesbian, dancer and poet and couple, winners of the 2017 National Women’s Music Festival Emerging Artist Contest.
Liz Abzug is the founder of the Bella Abzug Leadership Institute, named after her mother, the feminist New York congresswoman. The institute trains girls and young women in leadership, debate, and empowerment skills. Liz has served in senior-level government positions and was instrumental in the fight to ban discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS in New York State.
Journey Blue Heaven and Friends are well-known local musicians.
Alix Dobkin will play protest folk music.
Ashley Dittus, Ulster County Board of Elections Democratic Commissioner, is the state’s youngest commissioner at 32. She is working on progressive election reform.
Dafne Vee is a local activist and ecological gardener who will be sharing her personal journey of strength, determination, and empowerment.
Kris McDaniel-Miccio is a nationally recognized expert on the law as it affects survivors of male intimate violence.
The Rock Academy is a performance-based, interactive music school, dedicated to getting kids playing music in an as authentic way as possible.
Tin Horn Uprising is an activist brass band that played at Faso Friday demonstrations when John Faso was serving as congressman.
Victor Cueva will talk about migrating from Peru and becoming an immigration lawyer at the Worker Justice Center of NY, dealing with asylum, family reunification, deportation, and citizenship, particularly as they affect women and children.