Women’s rights are human rights
Though the temperature was a chilly 32 degrees, a crowd of some 200, mostly women, gathered at Payrow Plaza beside Bethlehem City Hall for the third annual Women’s March of the Lehigh Valley Jan. 19. This year, however, the Bethlehem Women’s March was not affiliated with the National Women’s March because of a desire to express disapproval of what was seen as anti-Semitism and ties to the Nation of Islam of some of its leaders.
The lead organizer of the Bethlehem event was Liberty High School senior Georgia Skuza. She is no stranger to protests: last year she led the “Walk Out” at Liberty in the wake of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. Co-organizer of the event was Tara Zrinski, the first woman to be elected to Northampton County Council, who declared that “Women’s rights are human rights.”
Other speakers included Olga Negron, the first Latino woman elected to Bethlehem City Council; Shirley Morganelli, representing Rally of American Resistance of the Lehigh Valley; Susan Wild, one of four Pennsylvania women recently elected to the U.S. House of Representatives; Corinne Goodwin, of the Lehigh Valley Transgender Renaissance; the Rev. Elizabeth Hoffman Reed, member of the Poor People’s Campaign Pennsylvania; and Kathy Fox of the Bethlehem Environmental Advisory Council.
The 16 speakers expressed concern about gun violence, environmental issues, LGBTQ rights, the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and other issues.
A very responsive audience welcomed each speaker enthusiastically and, when asked to do so by Fritz Walker of CeaseFire, PA, Gun Violence Prevention, chanted with fervor: “What do we want? Background checks. When do we want background checks? Now!”