Much has been made of this year’s divisiveness among organizers of national women’s marches. At the rally that was part of the Woodstock march, musician Amanda Palmer compared the process to the rigors of childbirth, conflicted and bloody. Still, the work gets done.
The 2019 Woodstock Women’s March was not as high in numbers as the first two, with an estimated 800 people. But determination and passion were palpable, despite temperatures in the 20s, the threat of snow, and the political burnout that likely kept some potential marchers at home.
The signs were witty and strong:
“Where have all the ethics gone?”
“The Fempire Strikes Back”
On the back of a golden retriever’s jacket was the statement “Even I know that NO! means NO!” The teenage girl holding the leash said she and her mother came from High Falls, preferring the Woodstock march to the more overwhelming crowds of Hudson or New York.
Christie Scheele of Chichester said she chose a local event because “we need to start with our home community to build a national impetus.”
Her neighbor, Amy Jackson, agreed, “The microcosm becomes the macrocosm.”
A man crouched on the sidewalk to take a selfie with his four-year-old daughter, as the march proceeded in the background.
On Mill Hill Road, marchers peeled off to take photos of the giant posters in the windows of the boutique Sparkle. Under pictures of Michelle Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez were quotes from each of them.
Near the front of the march, the brass band Tin Horn Uprising provided a rousing soundtrack, while people danced with giant puppets on poles held above their heads.
Upon arriving at Andy Lee Field, the crowd was welcomed by music from Journey Blue Heaven, Simi Stone, and friends. Marchers joined in on “The Times They are A-Changin’” and “We Shall Overcome.”
Among the speakers were elections commissioner Ashley Dittus, summarizing the recently passed New York State election reforms; two candidates for Ulster County Executive, Pat Courtney Strong and Pat Ryan; drummer Ubaka Hill; and activist Liz Abzug. Nia and Ness gave a powerful dance and spoken word performance on their journey together as lesbians of color. Amanda Palmer, who came to prominence in the early 2000s as keyboardist and vocalist of the Dresden Dolls, sang with students from the Rock Academy. They rocked with Palmer’s song “In My Mind,” her feminist version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” and Lesley Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me,” all fitting perfectly the punchy but peaceful, resolute spirit of the day.