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Standing up for women’s rights at the Sakonnet Women’s March for Democracy



Right before the most important election of our lifetime you are showing up, while honoring the restrictions we must have in place… You all indeed are activists. By being here you are acknowledging that women’s rights are human rights…

About 300 people attended the Sakonnet Women’s March for Democracy at Veteran’s Field in Little Compton on Saturday afternoon. The event consisted of a short speaking program that included United States Senator Jack Reed (Democrat, Rhode Island) and Michelle McGaw, Democratic candidate for the open District 71 House seat, before those in attendance circumambulated the field.

UpriseRI asked Mary Parker, one of the organizers of the event, how it came to be.

“I literally sat up, watching the six o’clock news going, ‘I can’t do nothing anymore,'” said Parker. She was reacting to yet more news about the Trump Administration and what she sees as his threat to democracy and women’s rights. “I started to look into going to DC and decided that’s not a smart thing given the Covid situation. I went to the website for the Women’s March 2020, saw ‘Host an Event’ and logged on.”

It took time to get permission from Little Compton town officials to use the Veteran’s Field for the event. Once Parker and the organizers had permission, they had just eight days to pull it all together. The addition of Senator Reed was announced only two days ago.

Weather cooperated and the energy was very positive at the event.

Here’s the video:

“Right before the most important election of our lifetime you are showing up, while honoring the restrictions we must have in place,” said emcee Erin Elliot, one of the organizers of the event, to those in attendance. “You all indeed are activists. By being here you are acknowledging that women’s rights are human rights. By being here you are acknowledging that this is our country and not Donald Trump’s and his cronies.’ By being here we are all eager to find those opportunities at home, with family, in the classroom, in the community, and in the boardroom to be the change we deeply desire and deserve in this world.”

“One of the reasons I have a sense of optimism going forward is because I think this election will be decisively decided by women,” said Senator Reed. “An I trust your judgement very much.”

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“This presidential election is vital for us,” noted Michelle McGaw, “but we have a lot of local elections that are important too. I want to make sure that we are focusing on those… as well…

“After today, keep talking. Keep elevating the women around you. Because we have a lot of work to do.”

Educator and local historian Jenna Magnuski provided historical insights regarding women leaders from the Sakonnet area. Magnuski ended her talk noting the hardships endured by suffragists fighting for their right to vote. “They sacrificed so much so that we could have multiple safe ways to cast our ballot,”said Magnuski, adding that, so many of these women “never got the right to vote. With this election, with everything that it holds in the balance, please vote for them.”

Little Compton resident John Montgomery is a retired lawyer and the co-founder of Lawyers Defending America Democracy and is extremely concerned about the degradation of the rule of law under President Trump. When Montgomery started his group two years ago, “the goal was to mobilize lawyers to respond to the assault on our democracy and the rule of law by Donald Trump and his administration. Frankly, there were many who thought that our charge, that he is truly a threat, was a bit over the top, but no longer. Now we all know, and we read and we hear every day, that the threat is all too real.”

Ben Clements is an attorney, author, and advocate for political reform. He serves as the Chair and Senior Legal Advisor of Free Speech For People, a non-profit organization challenging presidential corruption and the corrosive impact of wealth and corporate influence on our elections. He is co-author of the book, “The Constitution Demands It: The Case for the Impeachment of Donald Trump.” 

Here’s a little of the march:

About the Author

Steve Ahlquist is Uprise RI's co-founder and lead reporter. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for nearly a decade.