Despite the bitter winds, low temperature and snow, several hundred people turned out Sunday on the steps of Buffalo City Hall for the 2020 Western New York Women's March.
It was all part of a national Weekend of Action, particularly in Washington, D.C., but also in Seneca Falls, NY, birthplace of the women's movement. Here, they braved a Western New York winter day to urge people to vote and to stand up for issues they believe important.
There were signs and badges opposing a war with Iran and defense spending nationally. Western New York Peace Center's Marie Schuster said this area has plenty of connections to the military worldwide.
"The Niagara Falls Air Force Base. That's an active attack wing that drones fly out of, killing our sisters in the Middle East. And now that we are rattling sabres of a war with Iran, we need to be paying attention, locally, to where our involvement is," Schuster said. "We have lots of war profiteers in our backyard. Lockheed-Martin operates here. Moog operates here. Honeywell operates here. These people have massive defense contracts."
The event was sponsored by the Western New York Peace Center and supported by dozens of other groups in the region. Peace Center Executive Director Vicki Ross said there are many issues.
"We are here to stand up for people on the planet, to defend the sacred, to stand against the patriarchy, the war, violence, racism and misogyny that is currently rampant in this country and, really, worldwide," Ross said.
Nadya Elhalawanor said the issues are important to her.
"I believe that women rights are important and oftentimes they are infringed on by white men in power," Elhalawanor said. "I also believe that, as someone who is Muslim and a woman, someone who wears hijab, that it's important to show that we're just as part of the movement as anyone else."
There were many women in the crowd wearing the pink hats with ears which became a symbol of the Women's March in Washington in January 2017, at the time of President Trump's inauguration. As has become increasingly common in local protests, there also was a significant turnout of Native Americans to support better treatment of indigenous people.