CALLICOON, NY — The march to Pennsylvania was slow and stately, the participants garbed in black. Some wore hoops. Some walked with faces wrapped in dark veils, haunting presences against the …
CALLICOON, NY — The march to Pennsylvania was slow and stately, the participants garbed in black. Some wore hoops. Some walked with faces wrapped in dark veils, haunting presences against the background of the river.
The 15-odd marchers were silent, grief and anger hanging palpably in the air.
“I can’t believe we need to do this again,” said one veiled woman. She remembered the first time women gathered to demand national access to abortion, in the early 1970s. What changed? Did nothing change?
She did not give her name now.
The group started small, with maybe seven people plus those who took photos. Others raced to join. The protesters crossed from New York to PA and back, over and over. Vehicles passed and drivers honked. You could guess the views—rapid honks for support, a single, prolonged note in opposition.
It could have been just a women’s march, but there were men too. One child. Most wore black.
“What century?” one sign demanded. Another: “Hypocrite!” A third: “End compulsory pregnancy.”
“It feels like we’re going back in time,” said Tannis Kowalchuk, performer, director and farmer, who conceived the idea for the protest. Every day at 5 p.m. Up and down the bridge from Callicoon to PA, for half an hour.
We’re all so busy, she said, but protest can’t be set aside. Put it in your calendar. “We’ll start to talk,” she said. “We’ll talk about voting, about getting involved, being active.”
Every day, she’ll be there with the Farm Arts Collective van and the black hoop skirts. Those are a symbol of the old ways, a reminder that women were—and are, in some places—hidden from the regard of others, alive and buried in fabric. “It’s all about regulation,” she said.
Frank Guzman, admin for the Living in Barryville Facebook group, was there too. “An attack on women is an attack on all of us,” he said.
For those who wish to join the protest, it begins on the NY side of the bridge at 5 p.m.
“We’re in mourning for what we’ve lost,” Kowalchuk said. But “this probably is not going away, and we’re not going away either.”
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