Pittsfield — The weather was warm as if to help the more than 1,500 Women’s March on Washington sister event marchers waiting their turn to cycle in and out of the Colonial Theatre Saturday (January 21).
But these sisters—men and boys included—might have given up comfort for painful winter temps after a week of more alarming global warming news and the Friday inauguration of a president who, during the campaign, called climate change a “hoax” over and over again.
I digress–as usual–but Trump picked a climate change denier to lead a transitioning Environmental Protection Agency and has an energy team that includes executives from big oil and fracking companies.
And, forgive me, but before arriving at the Colonial to cover the event, I had dropped my friend’s son off at Ski Butternut in Great Barrington where he teaches snowboarding, and the meltdown I saw there on hill and ground was not pretty.
“Happy Spring, Heather,” a friend texted me just now.
Back to the event sponsored by WAM Theatre and Berkshire Theatre Group with local hosts of supporters, a place where people could be in spirit with the estimated 500,000 attending the Women’s March on Washington. It was one of 673 sister events around the world. The most recent count has sister marchers at around 2.6 million. The event featured a streamed live feed from the Washington march, and had some theatre performances and tables in the lobby for various causes and social media posts.
The place was packed, everyone happy to be together after a nasty campaign season left them still breathing fumes from toxic rhetoric and still shaking their heads over policy propositions that many voters say appear downright retrograde. No one I spoke to even mentioned the new president’s name; they talked about a general feeling of mean-spiritedness riding the foul winds of Trump’s talk.
Sarah Davis came to the event with her family from Sandisfield. “It’s a good way to talk to my children about the election and things that aren’t being addressed,” she said.
Kit Patten of Monterey was outside with a sign that said “Decency.”
“A lot of basic human decency is being challenged,” Patten said, adding that operative for him was the “golden rule” and Immanuel Kant’s moral imperative. “Employers should not pay people less than they would be willing to live off of themselves, or uprooted if they are not willing to be uprooted themselves.”
Beth Carlson of Housatonic, owner of Ballotbox Tees, said she was here to “resist Trump’s insane appointments and lack of truth. I’m here for liberty and I’m here for truth.”
Pat Choquette was in the lobby counting attendees coming in and going out. “I’m called ‘Miss Clicker,’ she said, noting that event organizers made a goal to bring in 100 sister marchers. The event website got 450 RSVPs and expectations rose to 600 and, nearing the end, the clicker count had stretched to at least 1,500.
Jim Day and partner, Rick Pruhenski, live in Dalton and came, not with pink pussyhats, but “fuzzy orange ones—we both knit,” Day said, noting that they would have made pussyhats had they planned better.
I asked him why they had come. “How can we not be here?” Day said.
Pussyhats were spotted around Pittsfield all afternoon. A bunch of sister marchers were spotted at Dottie’s Coffee Lounge and the barista asked about the event.
“It was powerful,” someone said.