CARBONDALE — In an effort to hang on to the momentum of the Women’s March, scores of people gathered in the back rooms of Pagliai’s Pizza on Tuesday night to pen postcards to lawmakers.
Organizers of Jan. 21’s worldwide march had recommended the postcard-writing campaign as part of a “10 actions, 100 days” initiative, providing printable cards on their website.
Jackson County Board Member Liz Hunter, who organized the local party after attending the march in Washington, D.C., said the turnout far exceeded her expectations.
“I put it out to friends, you know? I expected maybe 40 people, and my friends shared it with their friends, and it just blossomed,” Hunter said.
“I had to go out and get more postcards, and when I came back, there were 70 different people from when I left,” said Annette Jaymes, who also helped organize the event. According to organizers, 560 cards were filled out.
As the stacks of handwritten postcards grew, attendees ate pizza and discussed politics. Some guests opted to gather in Hangar 9, which had been designated an overflow location.
Lucia Amorelli said she had been writing letters to legislators for the past week. Some of her key concerns centered on the suspension of immigration from Muslim-minority countries, the global gag rule on abortion and the wall along the Mexican border.
“I always end whatever letter, to whoever it is, with the environment — whatever decisions they make … above all they should be making good environmental practices,” Amorelli said.
Shelley Rawlins, who attended the march in Washington, D.C., said she found political activism “therapeutic” in the face of uncertainty.
“We’re getting so much noise from (Republican State Representative) Terri Bryant in the mail on how concerned she is with battered women. So I wrote to her about how I appreciated her concern with battered women, but that I need to remind her about our reproductive freedom, and that I’m really concerned with Mike Pence being in the White House,” she said.
Grad student Ashley Beard was also writing Bryant.
“I just said, ‘Hey, I’m a lesbian grad student at SIU and I need your help. I need you to stand up for women, LGBTQ, immigrants and marginalized people’s rights. Be brave and fight against this new regime,’” she said.
Hunter, who has been involved in politics her entire life, said the event drew a mix of familiar faces and newcomers to activism.
“There are people that I see at every Democratic function or even every city or philanthropic function I go to, and then I’m seeing faces I’ve never, ever seen before — people who feel the need to get involved now after the election,” Hunter said.