By Christine Sampson
As at least 500,000 people marched in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, thousands more took to the streets in cities, towns, and villages around the world in “sister marches” — including right here in Sag Harbor.
Those who attended the Main Street march estimated at least 300 people showed up to lend their support to the Women’s March on Washington. They met at the Windmill, proceeded to the intersection of Madison and Main, and returned to the Windmill up the opposite side of the road, holding signs and belting chants that mirrored the other marches around the world.
“There was a great deal of camaraderie, a great deal of passion and desire to not roll the clock back — to keep moving forward and sustain a variety of human rights,” said Noyac resident Ellen DioGuardi, who had to change her original plans to attend the Washington, D.C., march and was happy to learn of one close to home.
Ms. DioGuardi participated with her husband, David Gribin, and a close friend, Richard DeRose of East Hampton and New York City, along with people from all over the South Fork.
“To me that was particularly meaningful. It’s not just about women,” Ms. DioGuardi said. “Even though that was the impetus of the march and the title of it, it really is ‘human rights are women’s rights.’”
Terry Sullivan, a 25-year Sag Harbor resident, was among the Main Street cadre on Saturday.
“What was really nice to see was the diversity, not just all old, white folks but also young people and people of color,” he said. “It was very positive, very energetic. I don’t even remember a specific anti-Trump sign . . . but it was more about being positive rather than an anti-something. As Mother Jones said about 100 years ago: Don’t mourn, organize.”
Bob Weinstein of Sag Harbor, who marched on Main Street after a cold virus prevented him from traveling to the sister march in New York City, said the most important thing people can do is get involved on a local level.
“I was really proud, especially when after the march I got home and saw there were marches all over this country — I was so proud Sag Harbor was represented in this worldwide phenomenon,” he said. “To see this activism — it is a light to follow to move forward. Now we have to keep the momentum and turn it into something actionable.”
Laura Grenning, an art gallery owner who has a degree in economics and worked in international finance before moving to the East End, addressed the crowds in Sag Harbor on Saturday.
“We’ve been busy working, our heads down in our phones and whatnot, but it was a seminal moment, to be up and out and together in person, because we are not happy about the direction things are going,” Ms. Grenning said. “We are the silent majority that’s not going to be silent anymore. It’s absolutely central that we start to pay attention to the message that this election was sending us … which is that there are a lot of people in this country who are very unhappy about the way the economy has been going. We have to address the underlying economic issues that [President Donald] Trump rode in on.”
She called for people on both sides of the issues “to not demonize and vilify their opposition, but to go look at their news channels and see what information they’re getting, because we as a country need to come together and come up with some constructive solutions for all of us. We can’t hate other people. We are all Americans.”
Additional reporting by Kathryn G. Menu