By Jano Tantongco
Millions across the country, including Huntington residents, took to the streets Saturday for the Women’s March on Washington. There were also supporting marches across the country and globe in protest of the presidency of Donald Trump for his perceived animosity toward women’s issues.
Reports have called the marches the largest single-day protest in U.S. history.
Huntington Station resident Peggy De La Rosa, 51, attended the march in New York City.
“It was a great experience actually, so many women exercising their rights… so many women united for the same cause,” said De La Rosa, a station resident for three decades and a teacher’s aide at Woodhull Intermediate School. “It was very peaceful.”
De La Rosa said that despite her fear of crowded places she was motivated to march because she doesn’t agree with many of Trump’s policies, including those toward immigration. She herself emigrated from the Dominican Republic.
“I just wanted to be marching for something I believe in,” she said. “A human is a human, it doesn’t matter where they come from, and everybody deserves respect. In his case… it’s his way or no way.”
She hopes that Trump will “open his eyes” and will take back what she believed to be inappropriate remarks about women.
“Together we can make a change,” she said.
Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-Huntington) attended the inauguration and encountered crowds of those in support and against Trump and his policies. He called the Women’s March “an important part of our process.”
“People who went, and people who didn’t go, people who support it, people who don’t support it, should celebrate that’s how our democracy works,” Suozzi said. “But, there’s got to be more than just protests. There has to be efforts to try and work to get things done.”
Chairman of the Huntington Republican Committee Toni Tepe attended the inauguration and spoke with several marchers the next day. She claimed many of the marchers “weren’t even sure why they were there.”
“Everyone has a right to organize, everyone has a right to protest. The only thing I ask from the protestors is they know that they’re protesting for,” Tepe said. “The most important aspect is to be able to respect each others’ views. I hope that in time to come we are all working together as one nation.”
Judie Gorenstein, vice president and voter services chair for the Huntington branch of the League of Women Voters, said the league never supports or denounces specific elected officials.
“We do take positions, and once the candidate is elected, if they are for a law or policy that’s against our position, we will advocate,” Gorenstein said.
Gorenstein, who also holds the same league positions on the county and state levels, added that the league’s national administration initially chose not to participate. However, the decision was later changed since the protest touched on issues relevant to the organization, including abortion, environment and transparency.
She added, “Right now, our position is trying to work together to make the democracy work best."