Acknowledging they will be up against some harsh elements Sunday afternoon, participants in the third annual Women's March Buffalo/WNY vow to again share messages of unity and struggle, celebrating accomplishments such as more seats in elected offices but also pointing out the disparities they still face.
The City of Buffalo will hold its third annual Women's March in Niagara Square. Sunday's event will begin at 1:15 p.m. with an Indigenous Thanksgiving ceremony followed at 1:30 p.m. by the formal rally.
"The theme of resistance swept the nation and I'm happy to report that that sentiment is still alive and well today," said Vanessa Glushefski, Deputy Comptroller for the City of Buffalo. "Record numbers of women are running and we are winning. We elected the first Muslim and Native American women to Congress. And we have two African-American women now in high leadership positions in New York State, with Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins in the Senate (as its majority leader) and our newly-appointed majority leader, Crystal Peoples-Stokes, in the Assembly."
While there is celebration of accomplishments since the first Women's March was held in 2017, particpants say there remain struggles. They intend to point that out at Sunday's rally. This year, the March is utilizing the social media messages #womenswave and #unitethestruggles.
"Women deserve to sit at the table. We deserve equal pay. Women deserve to be recognized for not only our beauty but our strength, our intelligence and the ethical things we bring to the table," said Erie County Legislator Barbara Miller-Williams. "This is the time when it is important to realize that we have to look out for all women."
City Hall will mark the Women's March as early as Saturday by illuminating in pink atop the building, according to Buffalo's Chief Diversity Officer Shatora Donovan.
Last year's march drew an estimated 5,000 people, according to organizers. They admit the weekend's weather forecast, whicn includes snow and bitter cold wind chills, might be a deterrent to some but they plan to move forward, even if they need to shorten the program.
They also encourage people planning to rally to follow updates on the status of the March at the Western New York Peace Center's website. Should a worst-case scenario happen and organizers choose to call off the Buffalo march, Peace Center executive director Victoria Ross suggested one option would be to reschedule the local march for spring.
Those who spoke at Thursday's preview insist that while many deemed 2018 the "Year of the Woman," their movement is not limited to a finite period of time.
"I want to remind us all that words matter," Glushefski said. "When we say it's the Year of the Woman, that implies that this surge will be short-lived. I am looking forward to an increasing equality of representation and I want to consider that this is the Century of the Woman."