This is the first part of a two-part story.
It was called a Women's March and groups of women gathered Jan. 21 around the globe — but most notably in Washington, D.C. The issues varied but most related to women, whether it was equal rights, equal pay, or simple respect. Women carried signs, wore pink hats and stood together to be seen and recognized for causes important to them.
Some of the signs included “We will overcome,” “Make America think again,” “What does democracy look like. This is what democracy looks like,” “Silence is violence” and “Protest is patriotic.”
Some of the women were from the local area and shared their reason for marching.
Kate Ribovich, of Hudson, is a member of Hudson Action Together, a citizen action group to make voices heard in the political scene, and she organized a bus trip from Hudson.
Ribovich is the mother of two girls, ages 7 and 9, and a school counselor and licensed professional counselor.
“I was not pleased with some of the statements regarding women,” Ribovich said. “I want to show my children women can take action and fight for our rights and what we believe in.”
Ribovich works with teenage girls and women who have been survivors of violence, sexual assault and abuse.
“A lot of them were re-traumatized over the election hearing some of the things talked about,” Ribovich said. “I felt no one was paying attention to them.”
As a counselor, Ribovich knew people have to take action, and to deal with Trump's statements, she chose to march and fight for what she believes in.
“No one expected the amount of people who were there,” she said. “Even though I didn't hear the speakers, being in the environment was pretty amazing.”
Ribovich said the march was peaceful.
“We walked for hours, and people were everywhere,” she recalled. “I think it accomplished the start of a movement. I think there will a lot more out of this march than anyone expected.”
The march energized and mobilized people, Ribovich said.
“I would do it again in a heartbeat,” she added.
One group from the area that went to Washington, D.C. was Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. Kelly McDougal of Hudson started a local chapter with members from Hudson, Stow, Streetsboro, Kent, Twinsburg, Akron and Cuyahoga Falls.
McDougal said the goals of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America include background checks on guns and closing the loopholes that allow guns to be sold at gun shows without even showing a driver's license. Another goal is to prevent anyone on the no-fly list from buying a gun.
“The people on the no-fly list can legally go into any gun show and buy as many guns as they want of any type,” McDougal said.
Senate Bill 199, passed at the end of last year, allows concealed handguns on institutions of higher learning, day-care facilities, aircraft, certain government facilities, public areas of airport terminals and school safety zones among other changes for gun possession.
“We didn't change anyone's votes because Republicans all voted yes but they were shocked by all the bad press they got,” McDougal said. “Shocked at push back from groups such as ours.”
College campuses have to opt in to allow guns on campus but preschools were automatically opted in, McDougal said.
“I testified in Columbus at a Senate hearing,” McDougal said. “Preschools and colleges did not ask for this. It was the NRA agenda.”
“We have copies of no gun signs and are contacting preschools to place the sign on their doors so they don't bring guns inside,” McDougal said.
The group has a “Be Smart Program” to keep guns out of children's hands, McDougal said. The NRA tells children not to touch guns but the program tells parents, if you have a gun, fine, but secure it in a lock box, or locked case and keep ammo separate from the gun.
“We're not against the second amendment, but with rights comes responsibilities,” she said.
McDougal said Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense were against Trump because he campaigned for guns for everyone with no background checks.
“People in the organization were very devastated over the election,” McDougal said. “A lot of people felt better after this march. They felt more hopeful.”
The next meeting for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America is Feb. 5. Those interested can contact McDougal at Mcdougal.firstname.lastname@example.org
Rachel Reines of Maryland marched with family from Hudson and Massachusetts.
She said the march was emotional for her and her family.
“There were times when one of us would have a tear or two streaming down our face because it was very empowering to see all these people gathered together,” Reines said.
Some people decided not to go because of a fear of violence but the march was peaceful, uplifting and empowering, she said.
She said she marched for several reasons, including the popular vote not having any impact on the election, women's rights, equal pay and abortion laws.
“The goal is not to change what we already have – the rights for pro choice, the right to equal pay,” Reines said. “I'm concerned about what's happened the last three days [with Trump] pushing legislation toward the [building a] wall and eliminating Obamacare.”
Reines doesn't want women to lose their rights and said women need to make their voices heard.
“I believe that standing up [for rights] became stronger because I saw how many people marched over the nation,” Reines said. “That was very overpowering for me.”
Laura Labadie, a former Hudson resident, said she attended the march because it was important to her because she loves the United States and is concerned about the direction it might go and to stand up for human rights.
“I felt it was my responsibility as an American citizen, and I wanted to make sure my voice was heard and my presence was counted,” Labadie said. “I needed to physically see and be with other people who share these values concerning human rights and the possibility of these rights being threatened over the next four years.”
Labadie said she took the Metro into Washington, D.C. But the next two stops were closed because of so many passengers exiting.
“So as we climbed the stairs out of the Metro and arrived at street level. My first view was of a sea of marchers as far as the eye could see, probably about a half mile or so,” Labadie said. “At the end of that sea, was the Capitol building. It was an extremely moving, stimulating scene. It is an indelible memory for me and one I call upon frequently these days.”
Labadie said she would would like the marchers' voices to be heard as they stand together in solidarity for the protection of their rights.
“To paraphrase Hillary Clinton, 'If there is one message that comes forth from this march, let it be that human rights are women's rights and women's rights are human rights, once and for all.'” Labadie said.
Northeast Ohio women join march in Washington, D.C.
This is the first part of a two-part story.