Sister March at Colonial Theatre draws throngs from across the Berkshires

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By Saturday, Jan 21 We the People  14 Comments
Heather Bellow
More than 1,500 sister marchers came to the Berkshire County event at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield on Saturday, January 21, in solidarity with marchers at the Women'a March on Washington. More than 2.4 million sister marchers attended events around the world. From left: Aurel and Molly de St Andre of Great Barrington with children; center: Sarah Davis of Sandisfield and children. All are waiting in a long line to go into the theatre.

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.

From left, Ben Sideman of Pittsfield, Kit Patten of Monterey and Keith Emerling of Pittsfield all wait to enter the sister event at the Colonial Theater. Photo: Heather Bellow

From left, Ben Sideman of Pittsfield, Kit Patten of Monterey and Keith Emerling of Pittsfield all wait to enter the sister event at the Colonial Theater. Photo: Heather Bellow

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.

More than 1,500 sister marchers came to the Berkshire County event at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield Saturday in solidarity with marchers at the Women'a March on Washington. More than 2.4 million sister marchers attended events around the world. Photo: Heather Bellow

More than 1,500 sister marchers came to the Berkshire County event at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield Saturday in solidarity with marchers at the Women’a March on Washington. More than 2.4 million sister marchers attended events around the world. Photo: Heather Bellow

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.

Laura Gomez, left, and Margaret Bradley Davis working the oath booth. Davis was at the event on behalf of the Berkshire County Commission on the Status of Women, an organization that reports to the state legislature on conditions and challenges faced by women here. As a psychotherapist, Davis says women in the county are struggling with high rates of intergenerational poverty, heroin addiction, sexual assault and domestic abuse. Photo: Heather Bellow

Laura Gomez, left, and Margaret Bradley Davis working the oath booth. Davis was at the event on behalf of the Berkshire County Commission on the Status of Women, an organization that reports to the state legislature on conditions and challenges faced by women here. As a psychotherapist, Davis says women in the county are struggling with high rates of intergenerational poverty, heroin addiction, sexual assault and domestic abuse. Photo: Heather Bellow

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.

Rick Pruhenski, left, and partner Jim Day, a theology student, right, came to the event from Dalton. Photo: Heather Bellow

Rick Pruhenski, left, and partner Jim Day, a theology student, right, came to the event from Dalton. Photo: Heather Bellow

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.

Pussyhat trio, from left: Brady Cook, 15; Erin Cook, 17; and Rachel Belanger, 17. The three live in Lee and attend Lee High School. Photo: Heather Bellow

Pussyhat trio, from left: Brady Cook, 15; Erin Cook, 17; and Rachel Belanger, 17. The three live in Lee and attend Lee High School. Photo: Heather Bellow

 

Martha Freedman of Lanesboro works with the local chapter of Progressive Democrats of America. Photo: Heather Bellow

Martha Freedman of Lanesboro works with the local chapter of Progressive Democrats of America. Photo: Heather Bellow

 

Lines were long but moved all morning and afternoon as theatre capacity could hold only so many sister marchers at once. Photo: Heather Bellow

Lines were long but moved all morning and afternoon as theatre capacity could hold only so many sister marchers at once. Photo: Heather Bellow

 

A young sister marcher adding to the Post-it note wall. Photo: Heather Bellow

A young sister marcher adding to the Post-it note wall. Photo: Heather Bellow

 

Housatonic River warrior Denny Alsop held up a hand signifying his five grandchildren attending the Women’s March on Washington. Photo: Heather Bellow

Housatonic River warrior Denny Alsop held up a hand signifying his five grandchildren attending the Women’s March on Washington. Photo: Heather Bellow

 

“Miss Clicker” Pat Choquette working her thumb to a count of more than 1,500. Photo: Heather Bellow

“Miss Clicker” Pat Choquette working her thumb to a count of more than 1,500. Photo: Heather Bellow

 

Russell Freedman of Lanesboro, left, hands out literature. He is the president of the local chapter of Progressive Democrats of America. Photo: Heather Bellow

Russell Freedman of Lanesborough, left, hands out literature. He is the president of the local chapter of Progressive Democrats of America. Photo: Heather Bellow


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14 Comments   Add Comment

  1. Patrick Fennell says:

    Well it looks like the Eagle is only the second most left slanted opinion blob in Berkshire County. The Edge has edged it out.

    1. K says:

      If you were there , you would have seen & heard the most diverse and intelligent people speaking and standing up for everyone’s rights. As one person said: Republicans, you can do better; Democrats, you can do better. To me, there is no slant to that opinion.

      1. Patrick Fennell says:

        Is that your real name K? Would rather debate a real person with a real name.

      2. Sharon Koperek says:

        I agree with you K..and here’s MY name!!! Facts are anethma to republicans!

      3. Patrick Fennell says:

        Sharon here two facts Donald Trump is our POTUS and you and your fellow liberals are sore losers. those are Facts. Buy K a coloring book and a therapy dog since she is so traumatized. You might want a safe space too..

    2. Jonathan Hankin says:

      Pat, you should take up tweeting! You are sounding more presidential every day!

      1. Patrick Fennell says:

        I don’t have smart or cell phone. But thank you for the presidential plug.

    3. Sharon Koperek says:

      Awwwww Patrick we’re not sore losers..we are just disgusted anyone could support this sorry excuse for a man! He’s illegitimate ..only got in thanks toComey and Putin! I will be giving to trumputin just what he and the repubs gave to President Obama!!! trumputin is a racist, a fascist, a narcissist, a terrible business man, and a habitual self-serving liar.
      And this is not just opinion. The are dozens of examples, all caught on video, that corroborate these things empirically.
      So when we see him disrespect a war hero or a gold star family or Mexicans or Muslims or women; when we see him demonstrate that he has no knowledge of how the government or diplomacy or law making actually works; when we see him humiliate the handicapped and incite violence and hatred at his rallies; when we see him completely undermine the U.S. Intelligence community and stack his cabinet with people who have direct conflicts of interest with their respective posts…
      When we see him do all these completely un-Presidential things AND THEN not only do the conservatives not turn their back on him, not only do they embrace him, but they take the ball and run headlong in to the weeds of racism and fascism to a level never before seen then we have no choice but to express our outrage.
      The internet is now full of people embracing racist behavior, caught on video and in social media posts, at an unprecedented rate, and all in the name of conservative-ism. And we liberals are disgusted. Not because they are conservative or Republican but because they are behaving like a blood thirsty mob with a true idiot as their leader. Not only is this inhuman, it’s UN-American.
      So for those who have thrown their full throated support behind a fascist we are left with no choice but to decry this behavior in the strongest possible language. And we make no apologies for it. ZIPPO NADA NOTHING #NotMyPresident #dergropenfuhrer #NeverPumpkinhead #NeverGiveUp #NEVERGIVEIN #PROTESTDAILY #RESISTDAILY #FIGHT

  2. John Lippmann says:

    Heather great article full of local flavor on yesterday’s worldwide day of solidarity in opposition to the worst of Trump. Thanks to all who participated and made their voices heard. Together is the way forward.
    Ok that’s the good now into the bad. By comparing the yearly January thaw at Butternut to global climate change you run the risk of sounding like this guy….http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/6763868
    An unfortunate inclusion in an otherwise great article.

  3. Susie Kaufman says:

    Thrilling to be in such a crowd at the Colonial, especially just two weeks after the Four Freedoms March. Berkshire County is really showing up. The writers who participated in the Rock the Constitution presentation were uniformly excellent. The world looks less dark this morning.

    1. barbara newman says:

      Thank you, Susie. It felt so good to be there. So very very good.

  4. Jennifer says:

    Nice article, Heather, but a wrap-up of the sister event at the Colonial wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Kristen van Ginhoven, Jayne Benjulian and the writers and actors who performed “Rock the Constitution” in the afternoon. It was unfortunate that Actors Equity union rules forbade any photos or video of the show, which was really powerful! Participants included Jana Laiz, Barbara Newman, Lara Tupper, Sheela Clary, Rachel Siegel, Grace Rossman, MaConnia Chesser, Corinna May, Lori Evans, Joan Coombs, Ariel Bock, Brenny Rabine and yours truly.

    1. barbara newman says:

      Thank you, for adding that, Jennifer. It was moving to say the least, and inspiring to have a truly authentic connection with such an appreciate audience!

  5. Anthony Ehrlich says:

    Congratulations to the people of Berkshire County, who out in such numbers, to Heather for a fine article and pics, and to the Edge for covering it. I ( a former Lanesboro resident) attended the Sister March in Orlando, Florida. It was inspiring (there must have been about 10,000 there). To me, most hopeful was the number of children, very young to teens of both genders, bearing signs and learning to stand up for themselves, to respect themselves, and to respect others.

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