SENECA FALLS, N.Y. -- Women’s Marches are happening worldwide – but none with the significance seen in Seneca Falls, considered the birthplace of the American women's rights movement.
“This is sacred ground, for not only women’s rights, but for all rights, civil rights, and social justice," said lead organizer Melina Carnicelli.
Organizers say they’re sending a powerful message to the new presidential administration.
“All of the marches around this country and the world today are a call to action," said Carnicelli, the former mayor of Auburn. "And the way I see it is an opportunity for people to commit or recommit to a vigilance around social justice concerns.”
The day began at the Women's Rights National Historic Park, site of the first women’s rights convention in 1848.
“Reading the signs, seeing the generations, seeing people taking up different concerns, it is just the most warming thing I have seen in a long time," said organizer Betty Bayer. "And the sun is shining!”
Marchers traveled through town to a rally featuring speakers like Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, who addressed issues like equal pay, education and health care.
“I’m an army nurse, I’m a veteran, and it’s important that we have health care, and it’s important that the children and the young people today have Social Security and Medicare," said Diane Dwire, of Camillus. "Those are very, very good programs, and we deserve them and we should keep them. And that’s a major concern. We’ve got to vote, we’ve got to let them know we’re here."
Organizers say the crowd was larger than Seneca Falls' population. One of those residents says it’s an honor.
“I’m proud to have been born here and lived here my entire life, and this is just awesome," said Bryan Mulheron, of Seneca Falls. "It’s great to have such a high turnout. It’s not about ‘man-hating,’ it’s about equal rights for all.”
That’s a message Bayer says resonates in Seneca Falls like nowhere else.
“It’s a great place to draw on history and to send it into the future,” said Bayer.