WALWORTH — “Tell me what democracy looks like,” retired union organizer Mary Burpee shouted through her megaphone.
“This is what democracy looks like,” shouted back more than 100 participants Jan. 20 in a women’s march in the village square at Heyer Park.
The march, considered a “little sister” to bigger gatherings in Milwaukee and elsewhere across the country, came together quickly on a sunny day marking the one-year anniversary of President Trump’s inauguration.
Although it was planned, the event occurred almost like a flash mob, with many participants arriving at the village square park almost simultaneously at the 10:30 a.m. start time.
“Welcome to Walworth,” said Steve Doelder, treasurer of the Walworth County Democratic Party. “Who would’ve thunk?”
The Walworth march was suggested by Laura Bursh of Fontana. Her son, Nick, had designed a sign that read “Women’s Rights equals Mom Love.”
Starting with just 20 people, the numbers quickly swelled as more and more marchers arrived with homemade signs and many wearing their pink knit protest hats.
Many of the signs called for equal rights for women, or supported immigrants and the so-called Dreamers of the immigration program known as DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
Some chanted: “Our country, Dreamers’ country.”
Signs also read “Refugees are welcome here” and “Love your neighbor.”
Although some onlookers watched from nearby, organizer Gay Baldwin said there were no problems during the march.
“It’s been impressive with how many positive responses we’ve gotten,” she said.
Many passing motorists responded by beeping their horns and giving a thumbs-up gesture. Others rolled down windows and simply shouted “Trump.”
One bystander made his position clear by wearing a hat with the words “Trump 2016.”
While the president did not dominate all of the talk during the march, there was little doubt that he was the cause of the gathering.
“Hey, hey. Ho ho. Donald Trump has got to go,” some chanted.
Sabine Selvais arrived with a sign showing just two numbers — 25 over 45. She said it stood for the 25th Amendment of the Constitution and the 45th President of the United States, President Trump.
The 25th Amendment provides for replacing a president or vice president in the event of death, removal, resignation, or incapacitation.
Agnes Hanson, 91, of Elkhorn, was there with friends Gina Long and Michelle Wolff, who steered Hanson’s wheelchair. Hanson said this was her first march.
Mostly the marchers gathered at the corner of Kenosha and Main streets, and after about an hour, they marched up Kenosha Street to Highway 67 and then back to Heyer Park.
Kelly Freeman, former president of the Walworth School Board, said she thought it was wonderful that the march was happening in Walworth.
“I was excited it was happening in Walworth,” Freeman said. “Equality, equality, equality.”