NEWPORT — Dozens gathered Saturday morning at Newport City Hall to demonstrate opposition to the Trump Administration’s plan to fill recently deceased U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s seat on the nation’s highest court. While there were many women in attendance, there were also several men in the crowd.
Attendees wore masks and distanced themselves from each other at the Resist and Persist Women’s March 2020, sponsored by the Central Oregon Coast National Organization for Women and held in conjunction with The National Women’s March nationwide.
“Women, stand up and speak out — shouting when necessary!” implored Rhonda Harmon, organizer of the local event. “We, together, resist and persist the current administration. We are proud and diverse women marching in force for democracy and freedom,” she said as she opened the rally. “We will create social change.”
Harmon expressed fierce opposition to President Trump and his agenda. “We totally oppose his nomination to rush and fill our hero RBG’s Supreme Court seat,” she said. “(Trump) has caged innocent children, emboldened white supremacists and is threatening our free election with violence.” Harmon then led the crowd in a chant, “Trump has got to go.”
Newport City Councilor CM Hall addressed the crowd. “You’re voting for your mothers and your aunts and your sisters. You’re voting for democracy. You’re voting for health care,” she said before reading from “I Am a Nasty Woman,” a poem by Nina Donovan.
“I’m not as nasty as racism, as fraud, as conflict of interest, as homophobia, as sexual assault, as transphobia, as white supremacy, as misogyny, as ignorance, as white privilege … I’m nasty like the battles my grandmother’s fought to get me into that voting booth,” Hall read to cheers.
State Rep. David Gomberg was invited to the stage, where he reminded voters that this is the “most critical, most important, most crucial election in our entire lives.” He said, “We are all proud to be Oregonians … where we have the easiest, most open and the most mailable ballots in the entire country. We are proud here in Oregon to have the strongest equal pay for equal work legislation in the entire union. And we are very proud to have the strongest reproductive freedom statutes.”
Before marching, or rather, taking position along the sidewalks, carefully distanced and masked, Harmon cautioned protesters that there may be negativity in response to the rally, urging participants not to respond or engage in argument. She recalled the words of former First Lady Michelle Obama, leading the crowd in a chant, “When they go low, we go high.”
Standing on the sidewalk across from city hall, Caroline Gardner, 12, stood holding a sign that read, “When there are nine,” referencing when Justice Ginsburg was famously asked when there would be enough women on the nation’s highest court. “I want nine women on the Supreme Court,” Gardner said.
Explaining her motivation, Gardner told the News-Times, “I’ve heard my grandparents talk about when it wasn’t really equal. Now we’re on the brink of it not being equal, and I want it to stay equal.”
Asked if she feels equal to boys, Gardner responded, “Not really.” Pressed, she cited the dress codes at school. “It’s kind of weird, because women’s clothes or girls’ clothes are more tracked than guns in America,” Gardner observed.
Clover McCabe-Delap wore a shirt with the words, “My body, not yours!” Explaining her objection to “government officials — rich, white men” making laws that govern her body, she said, “It’s my choice to do what I want with my body. And men shouldn’t have any say in what women are able to do with their bodies.
“We need to make a stand. We can’t do that if we’re sitting in silence,” McCabe-Delap said.