By The Hudson Valley Price
NEW PALTZ – Women and men gathered on a Saturday to fight for women’s rights outside of Elting Memorial Library in New Paltz on the day after International Women’s Day.
One of the men was Eugene Hammond, who believes that women’s rights are a man’s issue as well.
“It’s important that people get out on the streets to show what kind of world we need,” Hammond said. “Half of the world’s population are women, and [men not supporting women has] been a very bad tradition.”
Bobby Halliday, who identifies as transgender, was there to represent the LGBTQ+ community.
“I wanted to come and stand up too,” Halliday said. “I like the attention and to make people aware of transgender rights.”
The event did not shy away from politics. Co-organizer Barbara Upton, co-founder of social movement New Paltz Women in Black, took to the steps of the library to give a rousing speech on the Trump administration’s policies that provide hindrances to women’s rights.
“We stand in resistance to the hatred, the bigotry, the corruption, [and] the authoritarianism of this current administration,” Upton said.
Anike Nicholson of Planned Parenthood Mid-Hudson Valley discussed the recent gag rule proposed by the Trump administration to make it illegal for doctors to refer patients to having safe abortions in clinics like Planned Parenthood and bar access to reproductive healthcare for many women.
“This rule is a direct attack on anyone who cannot afford the rising cost of healthcare,” Nicholson said. “It will put affordable healthcare out of reach for many underserved communities.”
Pro-life women were also in attendance. New Paltz resident Emily Flaherty was home on break from college and decided to use her time to show that feminism can come in different forms.
“I feel like you can still be pro-women’s rights but be pro-life,” Flaherty said. “There are women who are babies too, and they deserve to be protected in their rights.”
Other local groups that spoke included event sponsors Hudson Valley Area Labor Federation, Rondout Valley High School Human Rights Club and the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG).