The East End community will once again rally in solidarity of the Women’s March on Washington. A sister march will take place on Saturday, January 20 at 11 a.m. at the Long Wharf in Sag Harbor.
“Last year was incredibly spontaneous,” explained Hope Marxe, Sag Harbor Women’s March organizer. “I was chatting with a few of my friends – we all have daughters that play volleyball together. We were saying that we’d love to go to the New York City march, but we really didn’t want to bring our younger daughters.”
So, they decided Sag Harbor should have its own march. “Literally, two days before, I went into Village Hall and asked for a permit. Thankfully I got it,” she said. “I put on the permit that it would be 50 people, thinking how many people can come in two days?”
It turns out a lot. Marxe estimates over three hundred people attended. And the event even brought out a few notable East End residents: Kim Cattrall and Bob Balaban.
“We were all so blown away by it,” she said about the large attendance. “We had such a huge turnout and didn’t expect it.”
For the 2018 March, she gave herself slightly more time to prepare. Marxe and friends have been working on getting the word out for about two weeks and much of the March’s promotion is happening through Facebook.
“This is so grassroots and word of mouth,” Marxe remarked.
Originally, she decided to have the March in Sag Harbor because it’s where she resides. “It’s the perfect set up,” she said. “We’re meeting at the Windmill and then we will walk up Main Street and back down. We’ll have some speakers speaking at the Windmill again.” Suffolk Legislator Bridget Fleming is among confirmed attendees and Marxe is working on securing other well recognized speakers.
She was absolutely moved by the 2017 response and expects the 2018 event to have a similar turnout. “I was overwhelmed by it. The turnout was very heartwarming and it was amazing to connect with people locally that felt the same way we did,” Marxe said. “I think people go to these marches for very different reasons. Some go more for women’s rights, some are anti-Trump, some for immigration. Everyone has an issue that’s dear to their heart, but it was wonderful to connect with people locally – and so empowering.”
For Marxe, personally, she felt the need to establish the March to empower her daughters. “The first time really had to do with my two daughters. I felt very strongly about what was going on and I wanted to show them that in this country we have a voice and we can speak out, and that you shouldn’t just sit on the sidelines,” she reflected. “You should do something. We have freedom of speech. So, it was very much an example for my daughters.”
That’s a message that’s still very important to Marxe, and she also hopes that the March inspires and reminds people of the importance of casting their vote. “This year it’s very much along the same lines. My daughters are very excited about it. But, for me, the message that I really want to get out is that we need to get people out to vote in 2018. It’s a big deal. Not enough people vote and it’s just too important. These midterm elections don’t usually get a lot of attention and it’s crucial this year.”
She hopes people leave with a renewed sense of community. “It’s very empowering to connect with people. I think people need to find their voice,” she added. “It connected people in terms of sharing ideas and strategies.”
Marxe also hopes the March leaves people feeling empowered and that their voices truly are heard.
Like last year, she stresses that it will be a peaceful protest. “The big message I want to get out is that I hope it’s more positive,” Marxe concluded. “That the messages are positive. We’re not there to trash anyone, but rather just spread a positive message.”