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Women’s March draws contingent from Halifax County to the National Mall

South Boston NewsSouth Boston News
Among those taking part in the Women’s March on Washington, were, top, from left,Senecca Kirkhard, Anne Hayes and Jenny Burnett. Above, Jennifer Filler and her daughter. Filler’s husband and the couple’s second child also were there. (Contributed photos) / January 23, 2017
While the eyes of the world focused Friday on Donald Trump, the feet of hundreds of thousands of demonstrators pounded the Washington, D.C. pavement on Saturday in a massive statement against harsh rhetoric toward women.

And a number of locals were part of the experience — one they say they’ll never forget.

“It was one of the largest things I’ll probably ever experience in my life, honestly,” said Senecca Kirkhart of South Boston. “I had no idea that it would become that large overall. I’m still seeing reports on how millions of people around the world joined us in this effort.”

The Women’s March on Washington, held the day after Inauguration Day, was a peaceful demonstration that sprung up in response to the rhetoric of the past election cycle. What started as an offhand idea by a handful of women evolved into an international affair, eliciting sister protests around the world involving millions of women and men to address the issue of women’s rights.

All 50 states in America hosted their own Women’s March, and marches were held on all seven continents, including Antarctica.

The D.C. main event was in close enough proximity to draw a contingent of protestors — most if not all women — from Halifax County.

Kirkhart drove to D.C. with several other local women, where they met with the rest of their group, bearing handmade signs and pink hats.

“It was very positive and uplifting,” Kirkhart said of the march. “I never felt like anybody was causing any trouble, and I never heard anyone saying bad or nasty things. Nobody was being negative, as opposed to what the media tends to focus on.

“As for the people that have formed an opinion about the march who weren’t even there, they’ve just seen the few things on the media. How can you say what it was when you weren’t there? You didn’t see it, you didn’t witness it, and you didn’t see and feel the love that was emanating from everybody there.”

Kirkhart noted that she rarely saw any posters or signs that featured a “Not My President” message.

“I was looking out for those because I didn’t want to be part of something like that,” she explained. “That was not my goal at all. I wasn’t trying to protest him being president. And I did not see very much of that at all, which I was pleased with.

“One of my favorite signs actually said: ‘You’re so vain; you probably think this march is about you.’”

Organizers of the March on Washington urged attendees to keep the rally civil and safe, noting that it was not an anti-Trump protest, but rather a pro-women event.

Jennifer Filler of Nathalie attended the march with her husband and two young children.

“From the time we got there, I was totally amped to be surrounded by people that felt the same way I did,” Filler said. “The enthusiasm in the air was almost palpable. We kept getting kind of choked up, even before the speeches. Just looking around and seeing everybody there that believes in the same thing and felt the same way, it was just very emotional.”

“It was people that were from all over the place, and they were at the march for all types of reasons, whether it was for immigration, people of color, disabled people,” Filler added. “And the connection with people there was amazing. We would lock eyes and nod or smile at each other. There was just this instant understanding.”

“And seeing all of the older women there was inspiring,” Filler said. “It was refreshing to see women who had for the rights of their daughters and granddaughters show up again, with those daughters and granddaughters. It was all the different generations with the same purpose.”

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