Feb. 13, 2017 By Hannah Wulkan
The Women’s March movement following President Donald Trump’s inauguration has inspired a local group to come together in Astoria and push for change.
Several local women began Astoria March last month, inspired by the Women’s March following Trump’s inauguration, and have formed a coalition to continue pushing for progressive issues on a local and national level, galvanizing support among the community and quickly gaining a large following.
After attending the Women’s March on NYC on January 21, Astoria residents Eileen Kielty and Andrea Dusel-Foil felt energized, and wanted to channel their energy in to action.
They saw that the Women’s March was launching a “10 actions in 100 days” campaign and that the first action asked each person to write postcards to their senators about issues important to them, so they decided to get some friends together at a bar to write postcards.
Expecting about 30 people to show up at The Bonnie 29-12 23rd Avenue on January 26, they were shocked when about 200 people participated throughout the night.
After the overwhelming response, Kielty and Dusel-Foil realized that many of their neighbors felt the same as they did about Trump and the actions he was taking, and decided to organize their group Astoria March to take action.
They began by putting together a mission statement, which reads, “Our mission is to inspire and inform others about our government, policies, and how to create change from local, grassroots efforts through events, calls to action, and community-based conversation. Think Global. Act Local.”
Kielty explained that her feelings on the movement can be summed up by what she wrote on her sign for the march last month: “I march for everyone before me whose voice has been silenced to give a voice to everyone in front of me.”
“I realized that I can’t be quiet anymore, and people over the years have been quiet and we need to say something, because we can, because we are able to,” Kielty said.
Since launching the group, Astoria March has over 300 followers on Facebook, and Kielty and Dusel-Foil said that running the group and keeping up with the many emails they get daily has practically become a full time job that neither expected.
Both Kielty and Dusel-Foil are dancers and fitness instructors, and were never all that active in politics prior to the election in November. However, both described a deep need to get involved once Trump took office.
For Kielty, this was the first year she even voted in an election, recognizing the threat that she believes Trump poses. Dusel-Foil, on the other hand, has always described herself as a “policy nerd,” and is very focused on the upcoming midterm elections, though this is also her first time being involved in a political movement.
Both said that they were able to translate skills from their work to help them lead the group, including being comfortable in front of large groups and knowing how to teach.
Astoria March is very much still taking its shape and finding its focus. The women explained that they know their end goals—a progressive agenda focused on race, class and gender equality, women’s rights, climate change, immigration, and more—and they know their starting point, but are working to figure out what comes in between.
In addition to following the 10 actions laid out by the Women’s March, they have plans to move beyond that, and are working to put together a team of 12 leaders to organize through three branches of their group.
One branch will focus on policy and government functions, working to keep up with the news, condense the most important information, and disseminate it to group members.
The second branch will focus on communication and community action, running social media and emails to engage more community members, and working to turn the ideals put forward by the group in to action.
The final branch will focus on event planning and fundraising, planning group gatherings, which Kielty and Dusel-Foil hope to have several times a month.
Keeping with the Women’s March platform, the group has organized several “huddles,” which is the second of the ten actions suggested by the organization.
The “huddles” encourage groups of 10 to 15 people to gather and discuss issues on their minds, their fears, and hopes for the future.
Astoria March led several huddles at the Astoria Bookshop last week, and will lead several more this Wednesday and Thursday.
“One of my favorite things that they asked of us is to think about what you would tell future generations what you did to make a difference at this moment, what did you do to save the world,” Dusel-Foil said, outlining the reason so many feel compelled to get involved.
Moving forward, in addition to following the actions laid out by the Women’s March and attending protests throughout the city, Kielty and Dusel-Foil hope to launch other initiatives as well, including self-care workshops to help alleviate the intense stress many have felt since the election, as well as drawing in more artistic means of expressing these feelings with a performance or art piece of some sort.
“We have to look out for each other because what actually makes America great is when we take care of each other, not when we’re trying to tear each other apart, not when we’re trying to divide, or silence or anything else,” Dusel-Foil said. “America is great when we are looking out and taking care of each other.”
To learn more about the Astoria March group visit https://www.facebook.com/AstoriaMarch/.
To find a registered huddle near you visit https://www.womensmarch.com/100/action2/.
Why don’t you people demonstrate against the gentrification of black and Hispanic neighborhoods by this democrat administration. An administration which has allowed blacks and Hispanic men and women to be kicked out of their apartments to make room for Hipsters.
Activists are calling on immigrants to protest the Presidents tough stance on immigration by staying home from work or school on Thursday, not shopping and not eating out, in an effort to highlight the vital role they play in U.S. society. It is called “A Day Without Immigrants” and I hope everyone has a happy one. It makes no sense because the federal crackdown is on “illegal” immigrants with criminal backgrounds. People are just so ignorant. People who oppose cracking down on illegal immigrants are people with business and such that are able to profit off of illegals by paying them less and not abiding by working laws and regulations.
Someone with common sense here. Bravo
When people get their only information from Fox and Breitbart, you cannot reason with them and you can’t pay attention to their nonsense, fact-free, bitter rants. Feel sorry for them, have compassion for the fact they live each day in fear, bitterness and anger and keep up the good work resisting the bigotry and recklessness coming out of this administration and its dangerously extemist advisors.
You can say the same about the protesters. Nowadays, fear and fake news goes both ways.
Lynda, that is true. Their fate is having to live with themselves for the rest of their lives. That’s punishment enough.
This entire week has been horrifying. At this rate the executive branch is going to collapse before the end of the year.
Here we go.!!?Bunch of fake NewYorkers. No family values. Probably mostly lesbians. Probably athiests. Meeting up at a bar to drink and talk shit with their pussy hats on. Lmao!! Good work. Here’s an idea intsead of “Pussy Power” why not use the work “Cooperative C$$TS”. People like you, and the fucking media,are waking up people like me that never gave a shit about nothing. And I know it’s anything, I just wrote it like a true NEW YORKER!! You have your jobs. You have you food and clothes and drinks. God bless America and that should be it. But NO!! You want to make a stand and be remembered for something. Go back in time and fight for your rights. Guess what!!you have nothing to fight over. Your equal you fucking nerds!!! We should have a day of sharia law allowed so YOU PEOPLE can appreciate what this country is and what it stands for. Oh man your camel toes must be blowing off steam after reading this lmao!! Wait that’s sexist! Why should oh man be a phrase. Great topic for your next shit show. FOH
Clearly, God did not bless you.
This is a rambling mess of a bunch of words with some homophobia and xenophobia thrown in for good measure. Of course most of us are atheist, we’re educated, rational, thinking people. Do you believe in Santa Clause too? Or maybe that the earth is like 6,00 years old? Tell me, what in your sad, sad mind, *does* this country stand for if not inclusion, civil liberties, and religious freedom?
So go form your own nation Atheistan! Leave the rest of us alone!
Ugh, if I could live in a land of just educated atheists, you better believe I would! Leave you idiots waiting for “god” to come clean up your mess.
Actually, mosts atheists do leave everyone else alone. It’s the religious fanatics that have repeatedly interfered in other people’s private lives and caused wars. That’s not to say that individual religious people are bad at all, but rather, your premise about atheists is just plain wrong.
Ugh, if I could live in a society with just educated atheist, you better believe I would! Leave you nut jobs to wait on “god” to clean up your mess.
Women against the Left! We will ban together to stop Soros and the Globalists One World Gov’t cashless society that will be imposed on us!
Presumably then, you’ve already thrown out your cell phone, right?
The sign says in the photo says “pussy power.” Out of all the photo’s that was the best one you could find to post this article with? lol I just find it funny. What if the next million man march hold signs that say “Black Cock Power.” lol
It’s in response to trump’s “grab ’em by the pussy” remark .
like you got over obama
get over this Trump won — grow up –
Smart and cowardly choice to remain anonymous .
Great going Ladies. #Resist
No why should we! He’s an abominable mess! Not my President!
You say Trump is a mess what about the democratic party. So much corruption and greed for a party who represent the people of our country.
…say the, white lower/middle class male with a 10th grade education, I presume? It’s never too late for enlightenment.
no smarty pants I am a white educated woman like I said get over it even all of the queens counsel people should respect that Trump won he is our President just like when Obama won we had to deal with him and he did absolutely NOTHING at all – so watch what you say to people learn some respect –
Peculiar that an educated woman could be so complicit and complacent, this new administration is completely against you. My 77 year old mother-in-law has more spirit of protest than you. As i said, it’s never too late for enlightenment.
Let me guess, you voted for serial sexual abuser Bill Clinton and his enabler wife Hillary without a second thought.
Employment fell below 5% , 20 million got health coverage under Obama and more serious crime illegal immigrants were deported under Obama then Bush. That’s not nothing.
“NOTHING at all” is an absolute and that isn’t even possible.
We now have a president who has some strange close relationship with Russia (which his own party is trying to understand) and a self proclaimed racist Stephen Miller on his executive staff.
So. “NO” we aren’t getting over it.
Don’t forget the capture of Osama bin Laden on Obama’s watch.
you’re educated but don’t know how to use a comma?
1) This isn’t sports.
2) Dissent is a hallmark of democracy, as evidenced by Mssrs. Hannity, O’Reilly, Limbaugh et al for the past 8 years.