Progressive Women of Pelham Attend Rally for Voters’ Rights
In solidarity with activists across the country, Progressive Women of Pelham, along with many of their Westchester neighbors, stood up for voters’ rights recently, at Martin Luther King Jr. Square in downtown White Plains. They were honored to give the bullhorn to White Plains Mayor Tom Roach; NY Immigration Coalition activist and Peekskill Councilwoman Vanessa Aguledo; County Executive George Latimer; State Senators Shelley Mayer and Alessandra Biaggi; Mount Vernon teacher and community organizer, Andom Ghebreghiorgis; and Congressman-elect, Mondaire Jones. Acclaimed singer/songwriter Nat Osborn played live, debuting his new song Freedom and leading the crowd in singing songs of resistance together.
Mayor Roach started off with a nod to George Washington, whose army fought off the British on nearby Battle Hill, and a call to count every vote, particularly the votes of our soldiers overseas. As Ms. Aguledo stated, “We stand on guard to protect our democracy’s health, and to ensure that every voice is heard and every vote is counted.” Mr. Latimer reminded everyone how important vigilance is, as they stood in the shadow of Martin Luther King, Jr.: “When you see someone proclaim that they won or you see somebody try to suppress the vote, it’s no different from trying to suppress the vote with bulldogs and billy clubs at the end of the Edmund Pettus Bridge.” Senator Biaggi looked to the future with optimism, imploring us to “reject cynicism, because cynicism is what divides us.” Senator Mayer saluted all our hard work, extolling “patience, persistence, and organization,” as key pillars of a healthy democracy.
Andom Ghebreghiorgis shared a moving and inspiring spoken word poem written in 2004 about his own awakening to the inequities of being Black in America, and his desire to “bring the white noise of Dubois to full voice for oppressed peoples.” PWP’s executive board member, Solange Hansen, shared her experience as a legal observer during the 2000 presidential campaign aftermath. She was thrilled to see people standing up for democracy, to prevent being “outorganized, outnumbered, and outmessaged” by the current administration’s attempts to disenfranchise American voters. And finally, Congressman-elect Mondaire Jones inspired participants to wait patiently for the Counting of Every Vote, because “when everybody gets to vote, when the voices of all the American people are finally heard, we get better policy outcomes and we get better people in office.”
PWP is grateful to everyone who stood in line, in a crowd of protestors, spoke and chanted, called, texted, wrote letters, knocked doors, tipped a glass and shared a story of how these past four years have changed our lives. We know that our hard work is not finished and we look forward to forging ahead with our Progressive Principles alongside all of you!
-- Photos by Dominique Claire Shuminova