BATAVIA – Women rose up Saturday to stage a national protest against President Donald Trump and Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.
In Kane County, the National Women’s March played out along the entire length of Randall Road, with protesters gathering at key intersections while many passing motorists honked their approval.
The women said that Trump and Barrett present a real threat to affordable health care and women’s reproductive rights.
“Angry Women Will Change the World,” read the sign held aloft by Jean Deptolla of St. Charles, joining a group of about 25 at the corner of Randall Road and West Wilson Street in Batavia.
“We don’t want to let things start to go backwards,” Deptolla said. We’ve been going backwards for the last four years.”
There was a sense among the protesters that they were a part of history.
“Our mothers and grandmothers did this,” Deptolla said. “Women have to do this year after year. It’s mindboggling and it makes me angry. This is not just about Trump or the Supreme Court.”
Sarah Frankiewicz of Aurora agreed.
“I don’t think the state of the country right now is fair,” Frankiewicz said. “Basic human rights are in jeopardy.”
Her mother, Laura Frankiewicz of Sycamore, has been here before.
“I protested in the 1970s and here I am now,” Frankiewicz said. “I feel that we women have been marching year after year and yet here we are. I wasn’t silent in 1970 and I won’t be silent in 2020,” she said.
The national march produced protests in Washington, D.C. and across the country.
Jennifer Perkins of Aurora organized the local march. She said that several hundred people had signed up in advance to participate.
The marchers waived their handmade placards. Some featured sly digs at Trump, such as “Grab ’em by the ballot box” and “Make Empathy Great Again.”
Some people had come a long way to participate in the event.
“It’s encouraging to be here with like-minded people who believe in the power of voting,” said Tracey Reed of Elk Grove Village.
Just a short distance up the road at the intersection of Randall and McKee Street, Lauren Kunstler of Geneva was clearly worried about what confirmation of Barrett to the high court will mean for women’s rights.
Kunstler wore a mask embroidered with the initials of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, the late high court justice whose death produced the Barrett nomination and worries that women’s rights will be rolled back.
Christina Byrne of Geneva shared those worries.
“Here was a woman who fought for equality her whole life,” Byrne said of Ginsberg. “And now she is going to be replaced by a woman who grew up in a community where women are subservient to their husbands,” she said.
The long history of the women’s rights movement in America seemed to be on everyone’s mind.
“My great-grandmother was a suffragette,” Byrne said, displaying a sign for Democratic U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood’s re-election campaign.
“If more people vote, the Democrats will win,” Byrne said.
With the usual election season campaigning venues no longer viable for candidates because of the pandemic and with the progressive leanings of the participants, the march was an irresistible event for Democratic political hopefuls.
Kane County Board Chairman nominee Corinne Pierog and 49th State House District nominee Maura Hirschauer, both of Batavia, joined the marchers at the intersection of Randall and McKee.