Community members come together during Buffalo Women’s March

Women’s march continues to push for change

womens-march

Strong winds and cold temperatures didn’t deter the 500 Buffalo community members who gathered in Niagara Square for the Women’s March on Sunday. 

Twelve speakers advocated for issues relating to women’s rights at a demonstration before the beginning of the march. Community members chanted “United we will never be defeated” and “More power for working class women” as they walked through downtown Buffalo.

The march, organized by the Western New York Peace Center, took place two days after International Women’s Day, celebrating women and advocating for their rights. 

Community members celebrated the second year of the march, which motivates activists to engage with their local communities to elicit change. 

Participants held up signs saying, “Make Her-story,” “Let’s Start a Revolution” and “No One is Free While Others are Oppressed.”

Jenn Flick, of Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York, spoke at the march and said women’s sovereignty over their bodies is important. 

“Nobody else. It is our decisions, our discretions that need to be protected,” Flick said.

She also discussed health disparities between men and women, which disproportionately affect women of color. 

Alessandra Duarte, of the West Side Youth Development Coalition, spoke about women’s rights to equality in business organization and the workplace. She said it’s important for women to receive fair pay, full respect and safe working conditions.

“So today let us join together to ensure that we strive for a future where there is equality for all women in the workplace,” Duarte said.

UB students also came out to show their support.

Juman Aref, Muslim Public Affairs Council member and UB biomedical science major, said people enter the world with limitless potential.

“Sometime around the emergence of our strengths and our abilities, society attempts to subdue these things. This is the common theme many of us share here today,” Aref said.

Aref alluded to how diverse the crowd was in support of women’s rights.

“It’s nice to see how many different backgrounds we can bring together for such an important cause,” Aref said.

Long-time community activist, Betty Jean Grant, called 2019 “the year of the woman,” while Ellen Grant from WNY Women’s Foundation said women are “striving, thriving, believing and achieving.” 

She spoke specifically about how a large number of elected officials tend to be men, and said that must change.

“Women are needed. Women need to represent in all levels of government,” Grant said.

Hannah Lewiston, a D’Youville student, said people need to “lift each other up” in order to encourage change.

The WNY Resistance Revival Chorus sang and stomped to songs like “The Rich Man’s House” by Anne Feeney after the march’s conclusion. 

“We are all here to stand up for ourselves, for each other and oppose to all forms of oppression,” a WNY Peace Corps volunteer said.

Brittany Gorny is a staff writer and can be reached at news@ubspectrum.com