[UPDATE — CORRECT VERSION] Westport Women On The Move

I posted the wrong version of this story earlier today — and omitted photos. The correct date of the march is next Sunday — March 26. Here is the version with photos. My apologies!

It seems like decades. But it’s only been a few weeks since the beginning of the Trump administration.

That’s when Darcy Hicks was getting tired of her worldly concerns being confined to Facebook feeds.

She knew a few others. Soon, 10 friends assembled in her Westport home, to write postcards to politicans.

That grew to a group of 40 Westporters. All said the same thing: How can we be more active?

A couple of days later, “06880”‘s Friday Flashback highlighted Kathie Motes Bennewitz’s story about the Equal Franchise League. Way back in 1913, women demanded suffrage — and marched — right here in Westport.

As Darcy’s postcard group grew into (yes) a Facebook page — DefenDemocracy of CT — a few members reacted with nostalgia. As they met in kitchens, they shared stories of their own pasts as activists, and the role of Westport and Connecticut in activism.

Lauren Soloff, Lisa Bowman and Darcy Hicks, all actively engaged.

Lauren Soloff Malowitz — Darcy’s neighbor when she moved back here 23 years ago — had marched for women’s right to choose. Lisa Bowman — who drove to Pennsylvania with Darcy 8 years ago, to knock on doors during Barack Obama’s first presidential run — had grown up marching with her parents, against nuclear weapons.

Nita Prasad had been very active as a Berkeley student. She helped shut down the San Francisco Bay Bridge after the Rodney King verdict, and raised funds for Oxfam.

Darcy Hicks (front right) demanded that Smith College divest from South Africa — and made the cover of this Newsweek campus publication.

As a student herself, Darcy helped take over the Smith College administration building, until trustees divested from the apartheid regime in South Africa.

The women are still active, in a variety of ways.

Nita — a professor of world history at Quinnipiac University — helps mobilize students and faculty in support of the national popular vote project.

After a long career in broadcasting, Lisa has been a fundraiser for the Democratic State Central Committee and the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp.

Lauren, a lawyer, fundraises for Homes With Hope. Darcy teaches children in Bridgeport and New Haven in Visual Literacy, an arts and language skills program she developed at Yale.

Darcy’s group wondered what their own kids — and others — who are so addicted to social media were learning about activism and social engagement. They decided that if a group of Westport women could march in 1913 — despite what must have been formidable obstacles — then they could do the same.

So on Sunday, March 26, a “CT on the Move March to Defend Democracy — One Small State, One Big Voice” march is set for downtown Westport. It begins at noon at Jesup Green, and ends at Veterans Green. Senator Chris Murphy is the keynote speaker.

“The idea is to celebrate Westport’s history of fighting for change,” Darcy says.

“Westport has often lived up to Connecticut’s ‘Constitution State’ nickname. From our revolutionary history to the examples we set advocating for abolition, women’s rights, civil rights and more, we are a community that does not stay quiet when we want change.”

This is more than a political rally, Darcy explains. “Really, it’s a reminder to all of us that we are part of a very special community — one that is fortunate, but that cares for those who aren’t. That is patriotism.”

Since first publicizing the march, Darcy’s group has joined with many others, new and established: Indivisible, Love in Action, 203 Action, Pantsuit Nation CT, the Westport Democratic Town Committee, and Staples High School’s Young Democrats and Social Activism clubs.

Darcy and her band of once-and-future activists are excited to be back in action.

They’re even more excited that younger folks — like Staples senior Lulu Stracher — are joining them.

“This is one generation showing a younger one that real change needs to happen outside of social media,” Darcy says.

“Engagement lives on. We look forward to passing the torch!”

(For more information, click here or email darcyhicksdtt@gmail.com)

Lauren Soloff at a Planned Parenthood rally, back in the day. She’s third from the left (not counting President Reagan), standing next to Vice President Bush.

21 responses to “[UPDATE — CORRECT VERSION] Westport Women On The Move

  1. I’m confused: in the second photo there is a “Stop Funding Murder” sign and in the fourth, one reading: “Keep Abortion Legal” –can’t have it both ways.

  2. Jeanne Bowles

    “Stop Funding Murder” is a sign at a march to get Smith College trustees to divest the apartheid regime in South Africa.

    • Understood. My ‘confusion’ was steeped in sarcasm; sorry if it misled you. Though, regardless: murder is murder. Apartheid/Abortion. same-same.

  3. Dave Feliciano

    I concur with Susan , not related, liberals demonize killing guilty multiple murderers, yet will slay the unborn with no compassion. We all make bad choices in life but we should put in the time and effort to change.

  4. Peter Gambaccini

    Oh, look. Here are “pro-life” folks making false equivalancies again. Yawn.

    • You remind me of a line my husband uses, “Good thing for you that abortions aren’t performed retroactively.”

      • Nancy Hunter

        Your comment is not just ignorant, it is full of hate.

        • Hardly. Look who’s calling the kettle black…murder IS murder…and that, my friend, is HATE, personified.

          • Nancy Hunter

            Yet, you and your husband would “murder” Mr. Gambaccini “retroactively” in your words?

            • Nancy Hunter

              Actually, I’ll scrub that and just ask you what do you mean: “Good thing for you that abortions aren’t performed retroactively”?

          • Nancy Hunter

            Until you walk a mile to learn about empathy, I’ll be happy to talk with you.

            • Which empathetic walk, Nancy? The one about personal sexual, unfettered freedoms or the one about a preborn human being who is killed in the mother’s womb for the sake of her convenience? Tell me, which one do you want to talk about?

              • Nancy Hunter

                We are certainly on different paths. There are more than two.

              • Nancy Hunter

                You still haven’t explained your husband’s deplorable statement (above).
                Maybe he can.

                • Nancy, as Dave Feliciano noted in his statement, he is NOT related to Susan.

                  • Nancy Hunter

                    She writes in reply to Peter Gambaccini: “You remind me of a line my husband uses…” Yes, I realize her husband is not Dave Feliciano. Her husband is Jose.

                • Okay Nancy, let’s try to put this to rest and be friends.

                  When you see injustice like Apartheid, you feel something and speak out. That’s a good and noble thing. When you see any innocent person at risk that, too, sparks a noble and holy sentiment within to push forward and make a difference.

                  Likewise, when a blameless unborn human person is at risk of being eliminated for whatever reason, here as well we (should) feel disturbed and, with a sense of responsibly, do whatever one might to eliminate the horror. As with all civil rights issues, including the “Stop the Murder” signs displayed to protest the horror of Apartheid, one should want to take action against it. The right to be born is also a civil right for someone who cannot yet speak for themselves, but assuredly, would one day thank you.

                  So for your edification (even though I believe you got the gist), it could be facetiously said how fortunate it is for villains who have caught the lucky break of birth and then make a mockery of their life, that we should not use the same mechanism of abortion to so easily and permanently eliminate them. The point being, we can destroy the potentially great ones yet get stuck with the scoundrals.

                  Nancy, I assure you, no hard feelings; we are both on the path to making this a better world for all of us. All of us. Take care.

                  • Nancy Hunter

                    Thank you, Susan.
                    While I still disagree with your line of thought, I am reminded of Scottish theologian Ian MacLaren, who wrote “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” So apt. So easy to forget. I know that I do sometimes.

              • Planned Parenthood not only advocates abortions, but it defends the killing of children born as a result of an abortion; the children are not really people.


  5. Jean Heinrich Bolivar

    I remember my mother organizing anti nuclear events for SANE in the 80s. One was held at Martha Stewart’s home. Go Westport!