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Thousands gather at State House for N.H.’s version of women’s march

  • A statue of Daniel Webster is seen wearing a pink “pussyhat” and red equality T-shirt during the New Hampshire Women’s Day of Action and Unity rally in front of the State House in Concord on Saturday. ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff

  • The crowd cheers as Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, the first woman in the United States to be elected governor and U.S. Senator, leaves the stage after speaking during the New Hampshire Women’€™s Day of Action and Unity rally in front of the State House on Saturday. ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff

  • Samuel Alicea, 16, of Boscawen speaks during the New Hampshire Women’s Day of Action and Unity rally in front of the State House in Concord on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Jen Desloges of Plymouth whistles while holding a “hear me roar” sign during the during the New Hampshire Women’s Day of Action and Unity rally in front of the State House in Concord on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Thousands of Granite Staters gathered at the State House in Concord for the New Hampshire Women’s Day of Action and Unity on Saturday. ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff

  • Rep. Caroletta Alicea of Boscawen speaks during the New Hampshire Women’s Day of Action and Unity rally in front of the State House in Concord, N.H., on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • The crowd cheers as Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, the first woman in the United States to be elected governor and U.S. Senator, leaves the stage after speaking during the New Hampshire Women’s Day of Action and Unity rally in front of the State House in Concord on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Dressed as the Statue of Liberty, Dakota Benedetto of Marlo attends the New Hampshire Women’s Day of Action and Unity rally in front of the State House in Concord, N.H., on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • In concert with marches across the country and the Women's March on Washington, Granite Staters rally in front of the State House in Concord for the New Hampshire Women’s Day of Action and Unity on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Samuel Alicea, 16, of Boscawen speaks during the New Hampshire Women’s Day of Action and Unity rally in front of the State House in Concord on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, Sen. Maggie Hassan and Rep. Carol Shea-Porter attended the New Hampshire Women’s Day of Action and Unity rally in front of the State House in Concord, N.H., on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Ilyssa Sherman, 26, of Rollinsford tells her story during the New Hampshire Women’s Day of Action and Unity rally in front of the State House in Concord, N.H., on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • A statue of Daniel Webster is seen wearing a pink pussy hat and red equality shirt during the New Hampshire Women’€™s Day of Action and Unity rally in front of the State House in Concord on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, Sen. Maggie Hassan and Rep. Carol Shea-Porter attended the New Hampshire Women’s Day of Action and Unity rally in front of the State House in Concord, N.H., on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Author Jodi Picoult speaks during the New Hampshire Women’s Day of Action and Unity rally in front of the State House in Concord, N.H., on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • In concert with marches across the country and the Women's March on Washington, Granite Staters rally in front of the State House in Concord for the New Hampshire Women’s Day of Action and Unity on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • In concert with marches across the country and the Women's March on Washington, Granite Staters rally in front of the State House in Concord for the New Hampshire Women’s Day of Action and Unity on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Stephanie Alicea of Boscawen speaks during the New Hampshire Women’s Day of Action and Unity rally in front of the State House in Concord, N.H., on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Eva Castillo speaks during the New Hampshire Women’s Day of Action and Unity rally in front of the State House in Concord, N.H., on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Eva Castillo speaks during the New Hampshire Women’s Day of Action and Unity rally in front of the State House in Concord, N.H., on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • In concert with marches across the country and the Women's March on Washington, Granite Staters rally in front of the State House in Concord for the New Hampshire Women’s Day of Action and Unity on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • In concert with marches across the country and the Women's March on Washington, Granite Staters rally in front of the State House in Concord for the New Hampshire Women’s Day of Action and Unity on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Activist training takes place at Phenix Hall in downtown Concord on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017, as part of the New Hampshire Women’s Day of Action and Unity. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Activist training takes place at Phenix Hall in downtown Concord on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017, as part of the New Hampshire Women’s Day of Action and Unity. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)



Monitor staff
Sunday, January 22, 2017

In concert with the Women’s March on Washington and hundreds of rallies across the country – and the world – more than a thousand people gathered on the State House steps Saturday to mark President Trump’s first day in the White House.

“We have a powerful message. We are still here. We are fired up, and we are not going backward,” Democrat U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen told a cheering, buoyant crowd.

Organizers have said the events were not necessarily anti-Trump, but instead about galvanizing energy and solidarity across a host of liberal causes under threat by the new president’s administration.

Mirroring the national march’s platform, the rally in Concord gave equal billing to speakers representing a slew of causes.

For nearly two hours, speakers told the crowd about their fights at home in the Granite State and nationally for LGBTQ equality, reproductive rights, immigration reform, paid family leave, racial equality, union protection, and progress on climate change.

They also urged those gathered Saturday to join in their fight. Activist organizations and nonprofits set up tents at the edge of the rally, signing up new volunteers, circulating petitions, and collecting donations.

“Do not go home and sink into complacency. Change does not come from a single march,” New Hampshire author Jodi Picoult told a crowd dotted with the pink, cat-eared hats that have come to represent a rebuke to comments Trump once made about groping women without their consent.

Planned Parenthood collected letters to send Republican Gov. Chris Sununu urging him never to defund the organization. At the nearby Phenix Hall, the NH-ACLU held an activist training in partnership with Planned Parenthood.

And speakers often reminded the crowd to stay involved in local politics.

“Make sure that you keep an eye on this Capital too,” Democratic U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan said.

Nancy Glynn, a Manchester waitress and activist, spoke about struggling to get the proper care for her son, who has hearing and speech disorders, because she couldn’t afford them.

“We as mothers should not have to fight this hard for our children to receive the services that they need,” she said.

Glynn gave birth again – this time too early, and the child would die, she told the crowd. Soon after, her husband had to take time off work for a hernia operation.

“Our utilities were shut off. Our refrigerator was bare and our arms were empty. We were never able to give Sawyer a proper funeral,” she said.

With no other choice, Glynn went back to work, despite being nowhere near ready to do so. But now, she said she was fighting for a bill introduced this legislative session that would create a paid family and medical leave insurance program.

State Rep. Caroletta Alicea also spoke, along with her daughter Stephanie Alicea and grandson Samuel, who made headlines last year for taking a knee during the national anthem at home football games at Merrimack Valley High School to protest police brutality.

Stephanie and Samuel both spoke about his decision to protest – and the aftermath, when members of their own community had berated and belittled the decision.

“Speak out. Effect change,” Stephanie Alicea said. “Because, in the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies – but the silence of our friends.”

At the close of the event, one man climbed atop the statue of Daniel Webster, a red equality shirt in hand. As the crowd cheered him on, he teetered at the edge of the statue’s pedestal, wriggling the shirt over the statue’s head.

Spontaneously, a woman climbed the statue’s other side to help. Someone from the crowd threw up a pink hat – and another a pink thong.

“I did it because we’re all here today, although we’re not in D.C., everyone is standing in solidarity because there’s irrevocable rights, inaliable rights, that women have,” Pedro Altagracia, of Georges Mills, said afterward.

Rebecca Courser, 63, of Warner, said she came to the rally because she couldn’t make it to Washington.

“I really wanted to be with people with similar interests and to get energized, because we’re now at that point where we have to be doing, taking action,” she said.

The moment felt particularly urgent for her daughter Emma Bates, 36, who also came along Saturday with her seven year old, Maisie.

“(I) was pretty nauseous yesterday seeing things that were already starting to happen and I just wanted to feel like I was doing something,” she said.

She’s particularly nervous about Republicans plans for the Affordable Care Act. She has cancer and isn’t sure if its repeal could stand in the way of her getting care.

“If the preexisting condition thing was in effect, I wouldn’t be able to get that coverage to get that treatment,” she said.