My Connecticut women are on the bus Florida,
how about you?
Michelle Bohmbach, left, of East Lyme and Maggie Costello, right, of Mystic work on their signs while they and other women who will be attending the Women's March in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21 gather at Hot Rod Cafe in New London on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017, to create signs for the march. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
Dena Whatley of Waterford works on her sign while she and other women who will be attending the Women's March in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21 gather at Hot Rod Cafe in New London on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017, to create signs for the march. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
Published January 14. 2017 5:18PM | Updated January 14. 2017 11:15PM
By Judy Benson Day staff writer
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In large red, blue and black capital letters on white poster board, Maggie Costello spelled out one of the messages she hopes to convey at the Women’s March on Washington, D.C., next Saturday: “UNITE THE STATES OF AMERICA.”
“We want the new establishment to know how we feel about Donald Trump’s treatment of women and minorities, and that we want justice and human rights to be protected,” the Mystic resident said, as she and about 20 others used bold-colored paints and magic markers to create posters they will carry at the event, organized for the day after inauguration day by groups concerned about the president-elect’s agenda. “We’re just doing our small part.”
Across the table, her friend Michelle Bohmbach of East Lyme worked on a sign that read “And Justice for All.” A $50 donation from William Kane of Quaker Hill paid for the poster board, paints and markers.
“We want to send a positive message,” Bohmbach said.
The Saturday afternoon of poster making took place in the basement of Hot Rod Café, where owner Rod Cornish was doing some final tallying for a bus he had organized for the march.
Marchers coming from across the country will be arriving on more than 1,200 charter buses, joining thousands more coming by car, air and train to the nation's capital for what could be the largest ever post-inauguration demonstration, according to organizers. Cornish, Costello, Bohmbach and more than 100 others will be traveling to the nation’s capital on two buses leaving from New London, while other southeastern Connecticut groups will be traveling on buses from Waterford and Norwich.
Bohmbach said several of her friends who can’t attend the Washington, D.C., event are planning to attend sister marches the same day in Hartford and Boston. More than 250 other sister marches are planned worldwide.
“We want to celebrate diversity, and we want to be taken seriously,” she said.
Like some others in the group, this would be Costello and Bohmbach’s first time participating in a political demonstration. But even those with past experience aren’t regulars at these kinds of events.
“The last time I did this was against the war in Vietnam,” said Charlotte Schroeder of New London, who will be traveling on the bus leaving from the downtown sports bar and restaurant. “I’m doing this for my grandchildren, and for my mother, who was a real champion of women’s rights, and for my aunt, who’s 97. I’m very concerned about the Affordable Care Act, even though I have Medicare. I’m concerned for my family and other people, and I’m really afraid about Roe v. Wade,” the Supreme Court ruling that established abortion rights.
Stonington resident Judith Hanratty, 69, will be going to the march with her daughter Kara Mignosa and 13-year-old granddaughter Quinn Mignosa, both of Noank.
Locals among thousands heading to D.C. for Women’s March
“I knew I had to do something,” she said. “I marched for women’s rights in the '80s, but I never thought I’d be doing this again.”
Nicole McDonald, a 16-year-old from Montville, also will be part of a multi-generational family group attending the march. Crafting a sign that said “MAKE AMERICA THINK AGAIN,” a play on the president-elect’s campaign slogan, she explained why she wants to be part of the march.
“I want to celebrate women’s rights and diversity,” she said. “The president-elect doesn’t stand up for that, so we have to take a stand against him.”