Women's March participants make voices heard at Oswego rally
About 100 women, men, children and supporters gathered in Hudson Crossing Park in downtown Oswego Saturday morning, Oct. 17 to listen to candidates for federal, state and local office before marching along the Fox River as part of the Kendall County Democrat Women's March. Held in conjunction with marches across the country Oct. 17, Julie Gondar, chairman of the Kendall County Democrats, said the national march was advanced ahead of the Nov. 3 election. "After the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, the Women's March - the national group - decided that they needed to move their march up to before the election," Gondar said. "There's so much at stake now, with the packing of the courts that the Republicans are doing, there are rights, LGBTQ+ rights, issues funding police, and women's rights. People are very worried about what could happen with this new justice (Amy Coney Barrett)." The passing of Justice Ginsberg, the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett, and the issue of rights following the election were on the minds of many who attended and spoke at Saturday's event. Signs encouraged readers to vote for "RBG", as Justice Ginsberg was called, to halt the nomination hearings for Barrett and to protect the rights of women. Brittany Johnson, a Montgomery resident, brought her two daughters with her to the march, to teach them to stand up for themselves. "I have two daughters, and I want them to know it's okay to stand up for themselves and to fight against men in power who don't respect us," Johnson said. "I want them to be active and fight for themselves." Speakers included local activists, as well as several candidates for office: U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-Naperville), State Rep. Karina Villa (D-49), Illinois House 50th District candidate Kate Monteleone, Kendall County Circuit Clerk candidate Ryan Kauffman, Kendall County Board member Audra Hendrix and Kendall County Board candidates Anthony Magliari, Karen Novy and Mary Murray. "Step into your discomfort to help the already uncomfortable," Julianna Karvelius told the crowd. "There are hard conversations to be had in this country; racism, women's rights, LGBTQ+ rights, the list goes on and on and on, but it does not have to." After the list of speakers had finished, the march set off from Hudson Crossing Park, and made its way across Oswego's pedestrian bridge spanning the Fox River, before circling back, and stopping on the bridge to chant and hold signs facing Washington Street. "I'm really happy with the way everything went. The focus of our speakers today was moving from our elected officials to the younger group of candidates and activists that are moving up," Gondar said. "It really gives us hope for the future and also causes us to be cognizant of what we're doing and what our involvement is, and make sure that we're fighting for everyone, every chance we get." "I'm proud of Kendall County, and the people that we had, and the ones that are stepping forward," she added. An important message, Gondar said, is that votes are cast for future generations. "We're voting for these young people...it's their future, the decisions we make today impact their future greatly," she said. As the election draws closer, Gondar said that the Kendall County Democrats will continue to phone bank for candidates.