PROTESTERS DISPLAY their signs as motorists drive by the Brunswick Mall during the women’s rights vigil on Saturday. See more photos on page A10.

PROTESTERS DISPLAY their signs as motorists drive by the Brunswick Mall during the women’s rights vigil on Saturday. See more photos on page A10.

BRUNSWICK

Hundreds of people from the Midcoast region and beyond gathered on the Brunswick Mall on Saturday for a women’s rights vigil.

The vigil was organized by the Unitarian Universalist Church of Brunswick in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington. The Brunswick event was one of many such gatherings in Maine and across the country.

PROTESTERS SHOW OFF their homemade signs at the women’s rights vigil on the Brunswick Mall on Saturday. From left: Ginny Wright, Sharon Harvie and Ann Havener.

PROTESTERS SHOW OFF their homemade signs at the women’s rights vigil on the Brunswick Mall on Saturday. From left: Ginny Wright, Sharon Harvie and Ann Havener.

“I can’t speak for all the people who were there today,” said the Rev. Sylvia Stocker of the UU Church of Brunswick. “The message for me was that I want people to be always cognizant of social justice issues. And especially with a new administration coming on, we don’t know how things are going to be, and it’s good to remind one another just to be vigilant.”

PROTESTERS MARCH around the Brunswick Mall at the women’s rights vigil on Saturday.

PROTESTERS MARCH around the Brunswick Mall at the women’s rights vigil on Saturday.

This wasn’t Stocker’s first vigil, either as an organizer or as a participant. In December, she organized a vigil showing solidarity with the people in Standing Rock. She had around 100 people at that and similar events, and she expected a similar response on Saturday. But as Stocker saw interest in the Women’s March on Washington and the satellite protests around the country growing, she began to suspect that more people might show up.

“I didn’t really know what to expect, to be honest,” she said. “I was very happy with the turnout. People were just happy to have some place to be close together and express their concerns about social justice issues.”

People began gathering on the Mall a little before 10 a.m., with many holding signs along Maine Street. The vigil lasted for approximately an hour, and Stocker estimated that more than 400 people came out. Although no specific actions were planned for the event, many of the protesters took part in spontaneous singing and most of them marched around the Mall.

“It’s obviously not just about women’s equality, it’s about equality for all of us. I think with the new prez, we’re in for some really serious hard times. And we should all be out here for each other,” said Brunswick resident Jeanne Johnson.

“I think the idea of human rights can’t be emphasized enough,” said Brunswick resident Joe Ciarrocca.

Jon Hogue traveled from Pownal “just to stand up for what we believe in.”

“Standing for love is the best thing we can do,” he said. “I don’t know how you can really argue with that.”

Mary Thompson of Topsham was concerned with President Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric, which she characterized as hateful, especially toward minorities.

“(I was) really just showing our support for all people,” she said. “I just want to make sure people know we’re here. And we’re voicing our concerns and making sure everyone has a chance to be heard.

“My family actually moved here from out of state, and one of the things I always remember my mom talking about was how friendly everybody was. We came from another state where if your car broke down people would just drive by. Here, people stop — hundreds of people would stop and say ‘are you OK?’” she continued. “That sort of warmth and generosity I think is something that sets Maine apart. And I want to think that that’s not just limited to one type of person.”


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