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Thousands attend women's rally against Trump in Buffalo

Not every Western New Yorker concerned about women's issues in the era of President Donald J. Trump could make it to the nation's capital Saturday.

Some came to Buffalo's Niagara Square instead.

There was Megan Vaughan of Lancaster, accompanied by her son, Rocco,  8. "We should respect everyone," Rocco said.

There was Leah Schwab, 36,  of Kenmore, walking with Jess Wagner, 21, of Buffalo, who both expressed concern over Trump's views on a long list of issues, including his opposition to the Affordable Care Act.

Leah Schwab of Kenmore, left, and Jess Wagner of Buffalo,

And there was Martha LaPointe, 61, with her daughter Courtney, 26, both of Lockport.

"I am here because of my daughter standing next to me," Martha LaPointe said. "I feel a need to speak out. I've been quiet for too long."

And there were others. Thousands of others.

An estimated 2,500 to 3,000 people marched down Delaware Avenue to Niagara Square Saturday afternoon in a local rally coinciding with the Women's March on Washington, D.C.

Gallery of photos from women's march in Buffalo

There were men and women; old and young; black and white and brown.

There were signs being carried: "We the people, means all the people" "and "Make America think again." And "I am no longer accepting things I cannot change. I am changing things I cannot accept."

There were chants: "Tell me what democracy looks like," one group yelled. "This is what democracy looks like," another groups answered.

And there were speeches, formal ones addressing the crowd and individual ones between those attending the rally.

Among those addressing the rally was Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz, who said Saturday's crowd was the largest he's seen at a rally of this kind in Niagara Square. "This is incredible," Poloncarz told the crowd. "I am so proud of you."

Also at the rally was Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown, who also recognized the spirit the attendees brought with them to Niagara Square. "As a city rich with diversity, we believe that our differences make us strong, and we stand together as one, regardless of creed, race, gender, sexual orientation or national origin," Brown said. Brown then recited a comment made by Hillary Clinton when she was first lady: "Women's rights are human rights, and human rights are women's rights," Brown said.

It was a phrase others in the crowd  posted on placards or referred to when addressing the crowd.

"I have a wife and two daughters," said Ray Barker of Amherst, who attended the rally with his wife, Kathryn Williams. "These are not just women's issues," he said. "They are human rights issues."

A shot of the crowd at the Women's March in Buffalo, N.Y., sponsored by the WNY Peace Center on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. (Mark Mulville / The Buffalo News)

Others in the crowd took the conversation well beyond women's issues.

Joe Peters of Blasdell, speaking with David Cates of Buffalo, said he's particularly concerned about how African-Americans will fare under Trump.

"If he's in this for four years, you aren't going to recognize this country," Peters said.

Cates, who is black, responded that it's not just African-Americans he's worried about, but anyone "who doesn't have lots of zeros at the end of their paychecks."

"Trump said he's for working people,  but his cabinet is filled with millionaires and billionaires and hedge fund managers," Cates said.

In addition to the rally attendees, about 40 police officers were on hand for the event.

It was a peaceful rally, with no incidents or arrests, said city police spokesman Michael J. DeGeorge.

email:sschulman@buffnews.com

 

 

 

 

 

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