Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Sister March: March, rally in support of women’s rights slated for Saturday in downtown Harrisburg.

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Marchers will take a route that will take them by the state Capitol.

From time to time, national issues play out on the streets of the Pennsylvania state capital in the form of protests, rallies and speeches.

Saturday will be one of those days, as the Women’s March, Harrisburg, will offer support and show solidarity with marchers in more than 600 cities around the world, including the Women’s March on Washington, which inspired the local events.

“My co-organizer and I couldn’t make it to the Washington, D.C., rally, and we looked online to see if there was one in Harrisburg and there wasn’t,” said Elizabeth DeKok of Harrisburg.

So, two days ago, DeKok and her friend, Emily Hibshman, registered the Harrisburg event, the 12th affiliated march just in the commonwealth.

Marchers will assemble at 10 a.m. at Kunkel Plaza at State and Front streets for a rally. They’ll then walk a route that includes Front Street, Market Street, N. 3rd Street and back down State Street to the plaza. DeKok said she expects several hundred people to march based on RSVPs on the main march website and responses from the Facebook event.

DeKok said that she felt the need to participate based upon what she sees as misogynistic statements by President-elect Donald Trump, who will be inaugurated tomorrow.

“When you have a man say horrible, degrading things and then become president, it unleashes the inner rage in you,” she said.

Harrisburg resident Anne Chappelka said that she and her husband, Roger, will be among the marchers on Saturday. She said that they felt compelled to march because the future seems so uncertain and “frightening.”

“I’m distressed at Washington right now,” said Chappelka, 83. “I’m worried about healthcare and social security. It’s everything.”

In Pennsylvania, marches are slated for a dozen cities, including, in central Pennsylvania, Lancaster, Selinsgrove and Lewisburg, in addition to Harrisburg. As of this afternoon, organizers say that more than 1.3 million people have registered to participate in “sister marches” worldwide outside the main event in Washington, D.C.

According to the main website, the marches were established in direct response to the divisive presidential campaign and are intended to “send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.”

“Marching for civil rights took a long time, but it worked,” said Chappelka. “I think we have to do that again now.”

For more information about the Women’s March, Harrisburg, visit the Facebook page: Women’s March on Washington-HBG Sister March (https://www.facebook.com/events/674557009371234/), www.womensmarch.com or email womensmarchhbg@gmail.com.

This story has been updated to include a change of meeting place and route.

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