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Sisters Maple and Ivy Webster-Ben David, and mother and daughter Mariana and Lucia Cicerchia at Saturday's rally.

Great Barrington Women's Rally Attracts 200 Participants

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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Berkshire Pulse dancers wear 'vote' masks for their performance at the rally. 

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — The Women's Rally on Saturday drew more than 200 people to protest the attempt to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg's seat on the U.S. Supreme Court prior to the presidential election. 

The event at Town Hall included music by Hoping Machine and Berkshire Batteria, speeches by the Mount Everett Social Justice League, and a performance by Housatonic dance studio Berkshire Pulse.  

Participants held signs reading phrases like "Girls just wanna have fundamental rights" and "A woman's place is in the resistance."

Mariana Cicerchia and daughter Lucia organized the rally. Cicerchia is an artist, mother, and works alongside her husband at his construction company. Lucia is a student at Mount Everett Regional School in Sheffield and a member of its Social Justice League, which is a group that reads books about political issues to learn about the history of different groups of people such as indigenous people.

Cicerchia said there was no local march in connection to the national Women's March held on Saturday, so the Women's Rally could be something to put her energy toward that would gather like-minded people together and help them feel a sense of connection and not being alone.

"Just watching the news and seeing where it looks like we're heading I felt a real deep sense of doom,"  she said. "And I decided that instead of letting it overwhelm me and paralyze me, I would take action and put my energy toward what I want to see in the world as apposed to what I see happen in the world"

Lucia is not old enough to vote, but felt that in organizing this rally with her mother she could do her part and support her political beliefs in this election.

"I thought it was something that needed to be done, to show resistance toward this whole situation we have going on and that we are strong and we are still resilient and we will keep fighting, even if everything goes badly, but we will also fight for everything we believe in," she said.

Cicerchia reached out to several nonprofit and other organizations in the community and the Mount Everett Social Justice League members took it upon themselves to speak.

Supporters included sisters Maple and Ivy Webster-Ben David; Ivy is a fellow member of the Social Justice League and Maple is signed up to be a poll worker on Nov. 3.

Founder and artistic director of Berkshire Pulse Bettina Montano was happy to participate in this event.

"Building and strengthening community is at the core of our mission at Berkshire Pulse," she said.  "Participating in today's march gave us a chance to fulfill our mission and to take action at a moment in time when we all need to feel that we can make a difference."

The piece that Berkshire Pulse performed was titled "Unbothered." Monatano had choreographed it in 2018 with a group of 12 women and 12 red chairs. This piece is made up of a series of gestures in rapid succession that reference women's demeanor and what is expected of women in terms of physicality and behavior.

This refers to the ways women conform to objectification even while they are accomplishing great things at home, in the community, and throughout the nation and world.

Montano added "vote" masks to emphasize the importance of women sharing their voices and being heard.

"Young women in today's world have extraordinary role models. Women of all ages that are making unprecedented changes in building a better tomorrow for everyone," she said. "There are more voices than ever before and more ways than ever to share our voices and to be heard. I am grateful that dance can be another language in our lives that creates opportunities for expression and inspiration."

Cicerchia said she was pleased with the turnout but hopes for a positive outcome of the upcoming election that will not warrant another Women's March.

Tags: election 2020,   protests,   women,   

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MDAR Commissioner Marks 'Green Friday' at Seekonk Tree Farm

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

Seekonk Tree Farm was selected for the annual 'Green Friday' pronouncement. MDAR Commissioner John Lebeaux traveled to the family-owned farm to present Peter Sweet Jr. and family with the state proclamation encouraging state residents to buy their greenery local.

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — State Department of Agricultural Resources Commissioner John Lebeaux traveled to Seekonk Tree Farm to celebrate "Green Friday" with the cutting of a Christmas tree.  The day is meant to encourage residents to source holiday plants from local farms.

Lebeaux presented the owners of the farm, the Sweet family, with a proclamation that marked Nov. 26 as Green Friday and outlined the many benefits of their line of work.

This includes adding $3.5 million to the state's economy each year with the sale of about 83,000 trees, providing a renewable source of energy when burned, producing biomass and removing carbon dioxide from the air, and providing stable refuge for wildlife.

"We try to rotate every year and it was the Berkshires turn this year," Lebeaux explained.

The farm has been in business since 1979, when Peter Alden Sweet Sr. married Carol Joan Wright. With the help of a $50,000 grant from MDAR, the family was able to build a gift shop/workshop that was completed about a year ago.

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