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Many Shepherdstown residents march in Washington Jan. 21

By Staff | Jan 27, 2017

Estimated numbers of over half a million were in the nation’s capitol Saturday to peacefully show unity and support for womens’ rights.

A large Shepherdstown contingent, organized by Maria Allen, owner of Maria’s Taqueria, also made their way Washington to add their voices to the many.

When Allen first began organizing the event, she had only planned on having one small bus, but the response was so overwhelming, that more buses had to be reserved. Five buses with approximately 60 people each left Shepherdstown at 7 a.m. and arrived to an already large crowd at RFK Stadium.

Lori Roberston is one of the many who went from Shepherdstown. She said there were so many people going (from Shepherdstown) that on the bus she was on, she didn’t see too many familiar faces.

By noon the crowds were even thicker, not allowing for any actual marching. The entire proposed route was filled with wall to wall people, men and women.

Robertson said she was very impressed and surprised at how nice everyone was.

“For that many people there in one place, everyone was really nice,” said Robertson. “People were carrying signs. Some of the signs were angrier than others, but many of the signs were peaceful and loving in nature. Every person that my daughter and I ran across were all very nice and considerate. It was kind of emotional to look around at all the people there and just think ‘Wow.’ It felt good.”

The flagship Washington marchers, activists and celebrities were joined by over 600 organized marches around the world. The message was not just anti-Trump, but intended to be pro-woman with an affirmative message about women’s rights regarding health, reproductive rights and equal wages. Part of the organizers’ platform is “to affirm our shared humanity and pronounce our bold message of resistance and self-determination.”

However, the march, although mostly peaceful, was not without controversy. Many women chose not to participate because they did not feel that the organizers valued the presence or opinions of conservative, pro-life, Trump voters. Nor did these women feel represented by the inflammatory remarks by speakers such as Madonna and Ashley Judd, saying it was the opposite of solidarity. There was also controversy around much of the language and tactics used by the crowd, some calling it “vulgar” and “base” and not appropriate for exemplifying women.

Robertson did not observe any of that from her vantage point, though.

“We did see some pro-life people there and from what I saw, we didn’t see anyone messing with them or mistreating them. Over all, it was extremely positive and all-encompassing. A lot of people were represented. There were many people from the LGBT community there, all races and colors of people. There were religious clergy there as well.”

Even though the march is over, the organizers are urging people to continue making their voices heard with a “10 Actions for the first 100 Days” plan. For more information, visit www.womensmarch.com.