By Fernando Alba
More than 300 marches and demonstrations across the country are set to voice their opposition against President Donald Trump’s agenda, his attempt to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat with a presidential election underway and the freedoms that could be lost if Ginsburg’s seat is filled with a justice like Amy Coney Barrett.
Nicole Berlingeri Nelson, a SUNY Plattsburgh graduate student pursuing her MBA in data analytics, is co-organizing Plattsburgh’s Women’s March at the US Oval tomorrow morning at 11 a.m.
Plattsburgh’s march will start with speakers Kimberly Davis, a New York State Senate candidate, and Hannah Provost, a financial planner and United Way of the Adirondacks member. The march will start from the Oval to downtown and back again.
For people who want to participate in the march but can’t, organizers are encouraging them to sit in public benches along the march’s route to represent “benchwarmers,” or people against filling Ginsburg’s seat before the election.
To get the event cleared, the Clinton County Department of Health is requiring masks and social distancing among the participants. Organizers are also asking participants to bring hand sanitizer.
“We don’t want to get anyone sick. We just want our voices to be heard,” Nelson said.
The annual Women’s March has been held nation-wide for the past three years in January, but with a critical election looming, it was scheduled earlier for a greater effect.
When Nelson realized the closest march in New York would be held in Albany, she was confused.
“That surprised me because in Plattsburgh we’ve been so good about organizing these kinds of things,” she said. “So I took it upon myself to get something going.”
That was Oct. 2. With just a little more than two weeks to plan the march, she was quick to get help. After consulting with Chris Rosenquest, the Democratic mayoral candidate for Plattsburgh, she was able to link with others to smooth out the process.
“I knew that something needed to get done and that I needed to get guidance,” she said.
For Nelson and for many other parents across the country, the future their children will grow up in is on the ballot in November’s elections.
“That’s where the main thing started for me. The government shouldn’t decide what my daughter can or can’t do with A, her body and B, eventually if she decides she loves another woman, they shouldn’t have a say in who she loves and how she loves,” she said. “So it’s more of a motherly thing for me, but also it affects my friends. It affects my family members. It affects the people I care about.”