5th Annual women’s march held in Rockford

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — For the fifth year in a row, Women’s March Rockford hosted their annual event. Although there were some changes, supporting women’s rights was still top of many minds.

“The Women’s March Rockford and Women’s March National started, this is the 5th annual march,” said Mary McNamara-Bernsten, the organizer for Women’s March Rockford.

Women’s March Rockford’s event was held behind the YMCA on Y Boulevard in Rockford. Due to COVID-19, members held a Zoom discussion for participants opting to stay home. The organization was created in 2016 as a way to advocate for women’s rights.

Event organizer Mary McNamara-Bernsten says the goal is to give more women a voice.

“The work almost, once you get into it, becomes more and more and more and multiplies because more women are coming forward and telling you, from their perspective, what it is that they need. That they’re not getting from the government, from their place of work, from their healthcare facility,” McNamara-Bernsten said.

Ashley Williams has been a supporter of the women’s march since its inception. She believes as a civil rights activist, it’s important to appreciate all of the women who have come before her.

“For me, it’s important to pay respects to all women that are encouraging other women and that’s what I want to do: Encourage other women to become educated, to run for office, to do anything they really feel like they can accomplish,” Williams said.

McNamara-Bernsten hopes the sculpture dedicated to women behind the YMCA will instill belief in little girls that anything is possible.

“Girls are going to be able to come down here and see faces that look like their face, faces that look like their mother’s face and say to themselves, ‘I can do anything.’ If you can reach young girls at a time in their lives where you can tell them ‘you are valued, your voice is equal to anyone else’s voice.’ I think that you can’t measure what that will do for that young woman,” McNamara-Bernsten added.

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