Concord – Activists from across the region marched to the New Hampshire State House on Saturday for the 4th annual New Hampshire Women’s Rally. Braving arctic temperatures, attendees gathered to share in the energy and be inspired by the speakers and musicians’ message to #MarchOnThePolls.
This year’s event highlighted the resistance and persistence of the last three years, celebrating the strength and boldness of the momentum that continues to build leading up to the 2020 elections.
Event speakers, including Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, Rep. Chris Pappas, and local community activists, highlighted many key issues facing people in New Hampshire and across this country, including reproductive health and rights, the climate crisis, LGBTQ+ rights, and the importance of electing women to office from the bottom to the top of the ticket.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen called out the Trump administration’s attacks on reproductive health care and women’s rights.
“For decades, women have had the certainty of knowing they can make their own reproductive choices. But as you march for women’s equality today, a nationwide attack is underway on access to reproductive health care,” Shaheen said.
Rep. Chris Pappas highlighted the need to continue marching and fighting for women’s rights and equality for all.
“This battle won’t be over in one election or one year, but it will take a lifetime of activism and of hard work -- of standing together, of linking arms. And we all need to be in this fight together,” Pappas said
Annie Johnson, a New Hampshire Planned Parenthood patient and reproductive and sexual health and rights advocate, spoke of the importance of ensuring everyone can control their own bodies.
“These are the facts: Attacks on our reproductive rights are attacks on our right to control our own bodies and the trajectory of our lives. All people, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, income, sexual orientation, immigration status, or neighborhood should have access to reproductive healthcare. Our most vulnerable citizens are under attack, and we cannot tolerate it!" Johnson said.
Fawn Gaudet, a descendant of the Blackfeet Nation and climate activist, encouraged attendees to come together and rise up in support of efforts to address global warming.
“As a fellow human being on this incredible planet, I implore all of you. I am calling on my ancestors to give you strength when you vote in November… rise! Our time is now!” Gaudet said.
Tina Smith, a survivor of child abuse and an advocate for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, told attendees that their voices are powerful.
“I’ve told my story so loud that those in the highest elected offices have listened. That is why my vote matters. We need to be aware and learn about the candidates to make our vote matter. I have found my voice – and it’s not going anywhere!” Smith said.
Laura Lynch, a wife, mother, grandmother, and activist who founded March On NH, encouraged attendees to get involved and seek volunteer opportunities.
“In the weeks and months ahead, there will be opportunities to roll up your sleeves locally, to become more active in your community, and to participate in nationwide campaigns. Take strength from the millions who have marched with us in solidarity. Take strength from knowing that there are millions more out there, just like us, who are Marching On for a better, brighter future,” Lynch said.
This year’s event co-hosts included: Planned Parenthood NH Action Fund; NH Women’s Foundation; Equality Health Center; NH Sierra Club; Granite State Progress; Rights & Democracy NH; NH Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy; MomsRising; League of Conservation Voters; ACLU of New Hampshire, New Hampshire Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence; National Association of Social Workers NH; Kent Street Coalition; YWCA; ABLE NH; NextGen NH; NH Fight4HER; 350NH; and ECHOAction.