People filled the streets of Colonial Williamsburg to march in support of women’s rights and and other causes Saturday.
The Women’s March on Williamsburg was a local demonstration in support of feminism, universal healthcare, human rights and environmental issues amid concurrent marches in other American cities a year after the first Women’s March, which took place the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration in 2017.
Activists, Democratic lawmakers and 2018 Democratic hopefuls spoke to the crowd prior to the march, urging attendees to be politically engaged.
“We can show that as women when we come together our voices can be heard,” said Elaine Luria, a Democratic candidate for the 2nd Congressional District.
Williamsburg’s event attracted more than 1,000 people from across the region. Many attendees toted signs with slogans like “Black Lives Matter” and “welcome refugees” as the march made its way down Duke of Gloucester Street.
The march was hosted by progressive activist groups Williamsburg-JCC Indivisible and Common Ground Williamsburg. Last year’s event attracted 700 people.
“There are a lot of like-minded individuals around us. That’s comforting,” said Claire Steen of Surry.
A variety of issues brought attendees out to the march.
Mathews resident Molly Hoffman marched in support of free speech, which she said is under threat.
“I feel truth is being attacked by the current administration,” Hoffman said. “Freedom of speech and freedom of press are incredibly important.”
Sheila Cox voiced concerns about the environmental impact of Trump administration policies.
“Big business has dismantled the environment and taken away the protections that we we’re working toward under the Obama administration,” the Williamsburg resident said.
Shelly Simonds, the Democratic candidate in the 2017 contest for the House of Delegates 94th District, encouraged women to participate in political campaigns, both as candidates and volunteers.
“Women are paying attention to what is happening in our state government,” Simonds said. “We are going to continue to hold them accountable.”
Simonds lost her race to David Yancey after a tied vote was broken by a drawing in the latter’s favor.
Del. Mike Mullins (D-Newport News) and Sen. Monty Mason (D-Williamsburg) were also among the event’s speakers.
“If we keep talking about the things we believe in, history is on our side and we’ll win. But it takes involvement like this,” Mason said.
Jacobs can be reached by phone at 757-298-6007.