When the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, Katy Smith of Oswego said it felt like a punch in the gut.
That’s one of the reasons she decided to get involved in the Together We Rise Women’s Marches, one of which stretched across Kane County along Randall Road from Aurora to Algonquin, she said.
The Kane County march, organized by Aurora resident Jennifer Perkins, is one of several taking place across the Chicago region and the country, to show solidarity with the march announced by the National Women’s March in Washington, D.C, after President Donald Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“It’s a scary time right now, because we don’t know what’s going to happen,” Smith said. “We’re here because we want people to know this is the time for you to make a choice.”
While voting is great, Smith said, she wanted to see what else she could do to not feel helpless.
For Smith, having Coney Barrett’s nomination pushed through so quickly is concerning, especially as members of Congress have advocated against putting up a nominee during a presidential election year in the past.
Smith said she can’t support someone with such different views to Ginsburg being nominated to the highest court in the country.
“Her beliefs tend to be so opposite of women’s rights, LGBTQ rights,” Smith said.
Many vehicles driving by honked or waved in support of the rally, spurring cheers from those protesting.
“It feels really good,” Smith said. “You never know what to expect. ... It was really cool.”
Molly Fivelson of Gilberts brought her two daughters, ages 10 and 11, to the march because she wanted them to join in and be strong women.
“We talk a lot about what’s going on,” Fivelson said.
She tells her daughters that they have rights and should be able to keep them, while also speaking for those who might not have a voice.
“It’s not just about you. It’s about everybody,” she said.
Nicole Mejia of Bloomingdale said she came to the march because she doesn’t think the government should decide what happens to people’s bodies.
“It’s about keeping the government out of my personal business and everybody’s personal business,” she said. “I don’t believe that religion should dictate politics.”
Hearing people honk in support made her feel hopeful, Mejia said.
Palatine resident T.J. Velazquez said there are a bunch of issues on the docket for this election, including ones centering on immigration and abortion access.
What’s great about the women’s march, he said, is that it isn’t just about one issue, but many.
A lot of women have been marginalized and disenfranchised, including women of color and those in the LGBTQ community, Velazquez said, so he wanted to be at the rally to show support for them.
“We see you. We recognize you,” he said.
Emily Gilbert of Hoffman Estates said a “laundry list” of concerns made her want to participate in the march, including Coney Barrett’s stance on the landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade and the Affordable Care Act. She also said the federal government also has failed to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think Trump is a despicable human being,” she said. “He obviously doesn’t respect, well, really anyone, but certainly not also women, queer people, people of color.”
Gilbert said she worries about the world being left for her 3-year-old daughter.
“I want to make sure that I’m doing my part to make this a better place for my daughter,” she said.
Huntley resident Geri Levine has three grandsons and said she wants them to grow up in a democracy. She said she thinks things are not going in the right direction now.
“They have to know women are valuable. That’s what my grandsons have learned,” she said, adding that they always stick up for girls. “They’re very interested in what’s going on in the world, and they do ask a lot of questions.”
Levine said because of Coney Barrett’s positions, she also fears her friends in the LGBTQ community having their rights taken away.
“It’s given me a lot of energy to keep going,” she said.
Some rain marred the breezy, cool fall day, but Levine said she would have come to the march even if it was snowing.
“All the women who came before us, who fought for us to be able to do this, we don’t want it to be taken away,” she said.
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