By Naeisha Rose
More than 200,000 women, men, children and dogs marched, sang, chanted and drummed their way from West 72nd Street and Central Park West to Times Square on Saturday for the second annual Women’s March on New York City, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Representing Queens at the event was the Center for the Women of New York, an organization that fights for women’s rights, located at 120-55 Queens Blvd. in Kew Gardens.
CWNY co-founder Ann Jawin gathered with others before the march at the Hotel Beacon, a few blocks from the start.
“As a feminist, my main issue is reproductive rights,” said Jawin, a Douglaston native. “To me, this is the foundation of women’s freedom and liberation.”
Joining her at the event was her friend Rose Lundy, a community leader from Bayside.
“I attended last year,” Lundy said. “We really spoke about issues that were of concern, and nobody blocked anybody’s issues.”
Marches like New York’s were held in cities across the United States.
To understand what marchers wanted, Jawin said, “just look at the signs!”
Some signs in the New York march were straight to the point.
“Love, Compassion, Tolerance — Not Hate — Make America Great,” Elizabeth Wheel’s sign read in red, white and blue. As she held up the American flag, her daughter Sara held up her own cardboard cutout sign.
“Hate Has No Home Here,” Sara’s sign read.
Other signs called for the impeachment of President Donald Trump, requested the removal of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and pleaded for the president not to start a nuclear war with North Korea.
Other signs referred to pop culture and were artistic. Many protesters who want Trump out of office used emblems of the resistance from the “Star Wars” films and quoted the most recent film in the franchise: “We Are the Spark That Will Light the Fire.”
Another sign depicted a drawing of the Statue of Liberty consoling a Muslim woman with a hijab.
Members of LGBT groups went to the march wearing rainbow-colored Pride Flags as capes.
Former New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito was among the crowds at the march.
“This is an opportunity to say that women’s voices will not be silenced,” Mark-Viverito said. “We are strong, we are an important fabric of this country, and we need to be respected and reclaim the space in terms of the conversation and the dialogue.”
She hopes with the 2018 elections around the corner this will present an opportunity for more women in politics to fight for issues concerning women.
“We want more women to run for office … because we are seriously underrepresented in all levels of government. There are only 11 women in the New York City Council out of 51,” Mark-Viverito said. “Women need to serve on all levels in government, and this is the moment to do that.”
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by email at nrose