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Songs, signs, and solidarity

More than 200 turn out to show support for women's marches

BRATTLEBORO—There were no speeches, and the political messages were confined to the signs carried by the women, men, and children who crowded into Pliny Park on Jan. 20.

This was a political gathering where speeches were unnecessary. Having more than 200 people singing the old songs of battles past — from “This Little Light of Mine” to “America the Beautiful” — was powerful enough.

On a warmer-than-usual Saturday morning, people gathered at the corner of Main and High streets for a reprise of last year’s vigil in support of the women’s marches that took place around the world the day after President Donald J. Trump was inaugurated.

Maggie Cassidy of Putney, who organized last year’s vigil, stuck to the same format as last year — focusing on the positive power that can be generated when people gather together.

The closest she got to politics was when Cassidy asked those in the park to turn to the person they were standing next to and ask them what was the one issue that motivated them to come out to the gathering.

Otherwise, songs, solidarity, and clever signs were the order of the day.

The focus of the vigil-goers was on November’s mid-term elections and the role that women have played in special and off-year elections in 2017.

According to Emily’s List, a Democratic Party-affiliated group that helps train and fund campaigns of women running for elective office, more than 26,000 women have contacted them seeking help in local, state, and federal campaigns. And, of the 34 Democrats who won Republican-held state legislative seats in special elections around the country, 22 have been women.

The focus of this year’s marches around the country was on getting people registered to vote and making sure they get to the polls. The campaign, “Power To The Polls,” kicked off in Las Vegas on Jan. 21 with a goal of adding at least 1 million new voters to the electoral rolls by November.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #443 (Wednesday, January 24, 2018). This story appeared on page A1.

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