Thousands of people flooded the Ithaca Commons for the Women's March on Ithaca Saturday.

Cameron Pollack / Sun Photography Editor

Thousands of people flooded the Ithaca Commons for the Women's March on Ithaca Saturday.

January 21, 2017

Women’s March on Ithaca Draws More than 8,000, Shattering Expectations

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Thousands of chanting women and men cascaded through the Ithaca Commons on Saturday during the Women’s March on Ithaca, greatly surpassing organizers’ expectations and forming the largest political gathering in the city in recent memory.

A sea of colorful clothes, clever signs and committed Ithacans gathered at Ithaca City Hall and marched along a one-mile route that was much too short to accommodate the large crowds. Some would-be marchers at the back of the rally had not moved by the time marchers at the front had completed their lap around downtown Ithaca.

Nonetheless, between 8,000 and 10,000 people ultimately poured onto the Bernie Milton Pavilion on the Commons, Ithaca Police Officer Jamie Williamson said, a surprising turnout for a city with a population of about 31,000. Lt. Dan Donahue of the Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office said he has never seen a march as big as Saturday’s anywhere in the county during his 18 years on the job.

Cameron Pollack / Sun Photography Editor

Thousands flooded the Commons, waving flags and signs as they participated in the Women’s March on Ithaca. (Cameron Pollack / Sun Photography Editor)

The march was one of hundreds of coordinated events in the U.S. and around the world to push for civil rights and show dissatisfaction with President Donald Trump’s rhetoric and expected policies. The Washington D.C. event is expected to be the largest inauguration-related demonstration in U.S. history, according to multiple reports.

Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick ’09, who was repeatedly stopped by dozens of Ithacans asking to take selfies, said he was stunned by the crowds, which he said were only rivaled by Slope Day and annual graduation ceremonies.

Cameron Pollack / Sun Photography Editor

Onlookers shared a view of Bernie Milton Pavilion, which demonstrators crowded around to listen to speeches and musical performances. (Cameron Pollack / Sun Photography Editor)

“The sun’s out and it’s warm, but honestly, I think all of these people would be here if it was raining and sleeting,” Myrick told The Sun. “I’ve never seen such a steady stream of determined people. It’s funny, because people aren’t exactly happy and they’re not exactly angry, they’re just determined.” Amanda Champion, the primary organizer of Ithaca’s march, said she began planning the event within days of the November election, and the huge attendance took her by surprise.

“I thought maybe there would be maybe 2,500, and then it just blew me away — over the top,” she said. “Everybody is so happy to have an outlet, and know that we’re not alone and that everybody is in this together.”

Young girls climbed into trees and maintained their perches for hours as speakers including Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton (D-125), Tompkins County Historian Carol Kammen, former State Senate candidate Leslie Danks Burke and motivational speaker Michelle Berry ’92 delivered harsh rebukes of Trump and encouraged Ithacans to take a stand.

Women's March on Ithaca. Cameron Pollack / Sun Photography Editor

Cameron Pollack / Sun Photography Editor

Event organizers expected a turnout of 2,500 people and were happily surprised by a crowd of over 8,000 supporters.

“Look around you — we can’t fit here,” Berry said in a powerful speech that brought the loudest rounds of applause. “Imagine what’s going on in Washington and around the world. … Today we march on, we rise. This is a day in history. The snapshot of you is all around our world forever.” Lifton, whose district includes all of Tompkins County, said the election of Trump could instigate enough pushback to substantially advance progressive causes.

“We will win, sooner rather than later, because we are already feeling impatient,” she said. “2017, and we are fighting for fundamental rights.”

As thousands danced, sang and yelled on the Commons, protests in other cities were overflowing with participants. The planned marches in both Washington D.C. and Chicago turned into rallies after attendees flooded the routes, ruling out any possibility of actual marches.

The march also brought waves of customers to local businesses. Asked if Saturday had been unusually busy, a Gimme Coffee barista said, “Look at the pastry case,” pointing to empty shelves where scones and croissants had been hours earlier.

Several police departments managed traffic and kept an eye on the event, but there were no arrests and no injuries, Officer Williamson said.

  • reasonable democracy

    While they obviously have the legal right to do this and I can completely understand hating Trump, the guy just won a legitimate democratic election. At some point we should recognize that there’s people who have interests that are mutually exclusive to ours and sometimes they deserve a say, as much as we might disagree.

    • Ezra Tank

      Well said.

      And I find it funny that the Saudi Arabian Embassy was right down the road from these “marches” and these women couldn’t voice their anger at a TRUE oppressor of women.

    • JOYCE STILLMAN-MYERS

      It was not legitimate. Russia called the shots and put out fake news.

  • borris batanov

    What exactly are they protesting? Nobody’s going to take away their abortions, contraception or equal opportunity in the work place.

    Isn’t this just hysterical anxiety over the possible end of the tyranny of identity politics, of the unchallenged repression of political correctness, which has smothered academia and media under Obama? Aren’t these people ironically conservatives, yelling for the status quo and against change?

    It seems that the less the substance of a protest, the more vociferous and self-righteous it is.

  • Robert Kaussner

    They’re protesting to promote women’s rights, to promote immigration reform, to promote LGBTQ rights, and to address environmental issues, workers issues, and racial inequality. The election of Donald Trump, his comments and history regarding women, and his particularly conservative/corporate cabinet is not sitting well with the majority of Americans (currently 37% of Americans approve of Donald Trump as president, and 54% do not, which is the lowest approval rating for an incoming president in over thirty years). They’re also protesting the fact that there is tangible proof on behalf of the NSA, the CIA, and the FBI that a foreign government (as in Russia) proactively manipulated and influenced this election (which should make and American with half a brain furious). They’re also protesting to let the new president (and his ilk) know that the majority of women in the United States are a force to be reckoned with. This is exactly why they are protesting.

    • borris batanov

      Leftist hogwash. The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming! The real threat to democracy and freedom came from Benghazi, the Clinton emails, the Clinton Foundation and Initiative, pay-to-play, collusion among the DOS, DOJ, DNC, the media, and the Clinton campaign, and the rigging of the election by the DNC against Bernie Saunders. Trump represents a threat to the globalist combine, while Obama & the Clinton’s ARE the combine.

      What are “women’s rights” besides a ruse, Mr. Leftist? No one is threatening to take away women’s vote or equal pay, for instance. In fact, it was the Clinton campaign who paid women disproportionately less than men. What hypocrisy.

      The Left is morally bankrupt. It’s concern for human rights is sickeningly fake. Progressives never even mention the repression, rape, beatings, torture and mutilation of women and children in every single Arab Muslim country on the face of the earth. Instead, Obama was totally ineffective in dealing with these and Clinton even took millions of dollars in bribes from them. What hypocrisy.

      Trump won the election fare and square, against all odds, in perfect compliance with the US Constitution, which has been abused and ignored for the last 8 years by the Left and their commissar, Obama. Clinton outspend Trump by hundreds of millions and still lost. This is what rankles the autocratic Left, which is driven by blind, Progressive ideology, undemocratic motives and out-and-out lies, and depends on monopolistic control of the economy and media, big government and crony capitalism to maintain its choke hold on America.

      America has spoken and has repudiated Obama. The pendulum has swung from the far Left back to to the center, where it belongs.

      The squawking and screams of the Left is music to my ears. Rant on, loser.

    • Ezra Tank

      Nonsense.

      What rights do LGBTQ not have?

      Immigration reform? We have immigration laws and ANYONE is welcome to LEGALLY immigrate to our country. LEGALLY is the key there. Trump NEVER said he was against immigration just ILLEGAL immigration. Take off your liberal blinders.

      Environmental issues? LOL. Go try living in China if you think our environment is bad. Obama basically put several STATES out of business with his attacks on coal. Yes something needs to be done about burning coal but EVERY liberal that yells how dirty coal is heats their house, turns on their lights, and drives a car. You simply cannot put a whole industry out of business with your polices with nothing to replace their lost jobs. If you travel outside of Ithaca to reality you would know this.

      The Russians again. It’s funny the left had no problem when the Kings of Middle Eastern countries were giving the Clinton’s millions but now suddenly the Russians “manipulated” the election? How did the change ONE vote? I guess you can conveniently turn your head as well when CNN was caught giving debate questions out to Hillary’s campaign. Do you not see your hypocrisy?

      A majority of women? Wrong! A lot of women voted for Trump. Women that are pro life were uninvited to yesterday’s march. If these women support women’s rights then how do you explain them EXCLUDING women. More hypocrisy.

      There is a reason T-shirts exist that say, “Ithaca 10 square miles surrounded by Reality.”

  • Robert Kaussner

    My opinion as articulated above still stands, and I won’t call you a loser since it serves no meaningful purpose. Mr. “Batanov” (which I’m assuming is a reference to the cartoon character Boris Badenov). Here’s wishing you great success, happiness, and peace.

    • A Fellow Cornellian

      “Mr. Batanov’s” comments sadly reflect recent developments in that they try to discredit the clearly stated and verifiable facts in Mr. Kaussner’s post and respond to inconvenient truths with personal insults. This highlights the importance for all Cornellians – students, faculty, and alumni alike – to call out false claims and fact-check statements whenever possible. Kudos to Mr. Kaussner for responding with grace and courtesy.

      • Ezra Tank

        LOL. “Ithaca 10 square miles surrounded by Reality.”

  • borris batanov

    New York and California are apart from the rest of the country. Clinton achieved a lead in the popular vote of about 4 million in CA and 1.5 million in NY. Trump had a lead of about 3 million popular votes in the rest of the country. The wisdom of the founders once again shines through, this time in the electoral college. The rest of the country does NOT want NY and CA to run it.

    The Daily Sun is a shameless propaganda organ. It has no credibility or integrity. I do not, in fact, believe that 8,000 people attended this protest. As Trump has so accurately pointed out, this is a LYING media.

    According to a 2016 AP poll, only 6% of Americans truly believe the media.

    In every poll conducted by the press, as in USA Today, Americans consistently rate journalists, politicians and lawyers as the bottom three professions.

    It’s sad that Cornell students, who can print anything they want and are not beholden to outside interests, should be so biased, unreliable and dishonest. This a diseased environment, one of self-censorship, hypocrisy, narrow-mindedness and intolerance.

    • A Fellow Cornellian

      Mr. Batanov. please note a few important points:
      – Citing the Trump administration as evidence that the media is lying is not appropriate. Just over the course of this weekend, Mr. Trump and his press secretary publicly stated several false facts that were easily disproved by hard, verifiable evidence. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/22/us/politics/president-trump-inauguration-crowd-white-house.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=b-lede-package-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news
      – Trump voters have an objectively skewed perception of reality. For instance according to a recent analysis “Two-thirds of Trump voters believe, falsely, that the unemployment rate rose under Obama. Three-quarters believe George Soros is paying people to protest Mr. Trump. Only 17 percent of self-identified Republicans are aware that the number of uninsured is at a historic low. Most people thought crime was rising even when it was falling. ” https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/23/opinion/things-can-only-get-worse.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-right-region&region=opinion-c-col-right-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-right-region
      It has become increasingly clear that the development of social media “echo chambers” leads people to discount verifiable facts that don’t align with their subjective beliefs. The low ratings of the media are a sad by-product of such dynamics. They also reflect the fact that traditional mainstream media that follow due diligence in fact checking are diluted by sources of fake news, often led by foreign sources.
      Finally, and this is of course an ironic twist, you’re correct in questioning the estimate of 8,000. In fact the police estimate it to be 10,000.
      http://www.ithacajournal.com/story/news/local/2017/01/21/ithaca-unites-10000-attend-womens-march/96844190/
      https://ithacavoice.com/2017/01/10000-fill-ithaca-streets-womens-march/

      • borris batanov

        NY Slimes is pure, slanted propaganda (like the CDS). I get most of my news from Drudge Report and Google News, hoping for some sort of balance between Left & Right. I take everything with a huge grain of salt, regardless of source. (TV news is worse than useless.)

        Unemployment rate fell, but underemployment rate and labor participation rate rose hugely. Labor participation rate is <63%. Obama only President in US history to not have at least one quarter of 3% or more of GDP growth. This is the worse recovery in US history, with drop in mean income. Other economic indices under Obama equally gloomy.

        In order to get the Affordable Care Act passed, Obama lied to Congress & the American people about the number of uninsured, stating it was ~35 million. In fact, exactly as predicted by conservative sources, the number of people in the insurance exchanges is 12 million (not the unchallenged lie by Hillary of 20 million in the debates).

        Given the cost of the ACA and the rise in insurance costs under it, it would have been cheaper just to give each of those 12 million direct cash payments for their healthcare.

        The ACA is imploding, with major insurers quitting (Aetna, United, Humana etc.) and others hemorrhaging money (Anthem, etc.). ACA is a disaster. The predicted outcome, that of less assess, higher costs and rationing, is a reality.

        Impossible to accurately assess Soros's involvement, as it is entirely secret. Can't be more subversive and sneaky.

        Look at your sources. What drivel.

  • borris batanov

    Erratum: “access” not “assess”