On any given Saturday, strolling past Elting Memorial Library, between 12:45 and 1:30 p.m., one may see the dedicated New Paltz Women in Black (WIB) standing peacefully in order to bring attention to various issues of political and social injustice. This is a demonstration they have been doing relentlessly for the past 18 years, and it doesn’t look like they’re going to stop anytime soon.
The WIB is an international social justice organization that started as a connection between Israeli and Palestinian women. New Paltz’s chapter began as a result of 9/11. As the country was hit by calamity, political turmoil, increasing hate and fear, the WIB answered the call for help in the New Paltz community.
“It just seemed like it needed to be done; people needed to stand up for peace,” said Donna Goodman, member of the WIB. “So, people started to vigil.”
The organization has supported and collaborated with various other social justice groups for years, but it is only recently that they started initiating their own. Vigils they held in the past were in an effort to protest drone warfare, modification of our food supply, the cruelty of family separation and calling for children to be reunited with their parents, to name a few.
The WIB are a far-reaching, intersectional group of activists. The issues they confront range in many elements of society, and this was showed in the way they used to demonstrate.
“When we would stand in the corner, we would have like 20 signs and they would all be about different things. We decided it would be a better front if each week we took one topic and just concentrated on that topic,” said member of the WIB, Rosalyn Cherry.
Now, the topics that this organization combat regularly are ending war, freeing Palestine, environmental justice and resistance. The resistance refers to bigotry and the corruption and immorality of the current administration.
The upcoming “Honor Diversity — Defeat White Supremacy” rally on Saturday, Nov. 2, from 12:30 to 2 p.m. will aim to encapsulate all of these issues.
“The march against white supremacy is the boldest thing we’ve ever done,” Goodman said. “We’re in such crisis now with the lawlessness of the administration, the racism, the fear that people have of losing their country, I mean this has happened in our own community: people being picked up by ICE; the fear that women have that they won’t be heard if they are sexually assaulted and now thats almost an expectation.”
The WIB are not alone in that sentiment as they currently have 25-30 co-sponsors for their rally already, and are still looking for more. To be a cosponsor all a group or individual has to do is support the event by advertising about it, and attending of course. A few of the co-sponsors include Dutchess County Action Alliance, New Paltz Socialists, March On Hudson Valley and Tin Horn Uprising. The group is looking to welcome any performers, spoken word poets and the likes as well.
The rally will begin at New Paltz Peace Park. To become a cosponsor or find out more, visit the New Paltz WIB Facebook page.