Reston, VA

The Women’s March is coming to the Town of Herndon this weekend. Three women are are organizing the Herndon Women’s March on Saturday at 3 p.m. at the Herndon Town Green.

Participants will begin at the town green and end their march at the town hall. Masks and social distancing are required.

According to event organizers, the march is essential to preserve the rights of all women.

In the wake of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing, thousands of Women’s Marchers gathered across the country in their communities to honor the life and legacy of the Notorious RBG. Together, we showed the world that this movement is more committed and fired up than ever to carry on the fight for justice and equality that RBG championed for so many years,” according to the event description.

So far, the following speakers have been confirmed for the march:

  • Shyamali Hauth, EVP for the Virginia Equal Rights Coalition
  • Pastor Michelle C. Thomas, President of Loudoun County NAACP
  • Sean Perryman, President of Fairfax County NAACP
  • Senator Jennifer Boysko, District 33
  • Delegate Ibraheem Samirah, District 86
  • Willow Woycke, LGBTQ+ Advocate

Photo by Elyssa Fahndrich/Unsplash

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The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Reston area.

We’ve searched the web for events of note in Reston, Herndon and Great Falls. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!

Tuesday (Oct. 13)

  • Birding on the Boat – 8-10 a.m. at Burke Lake Park (7315 Ox Road) — Enjoy a naturalist-led bird program aboard a tour boat, the event ad said. The cost is $15 per person. Children age 12 and younger must be accompanied by a registered adult

Thursday (Oct. 15)

  • Herndon Farmers Market – 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. — The Farmers Market is held on Thursdays from April to November on Lynn Street in historic downtown Herndon, the website said.
  • Herndon Mayor Candidate Q&A (Online) – 8-9 p.m. — Porter4Herndon will host a question and answer town hall for mayoral candidates of Herndon, Sheila Olem and Roland Taylor, the event ad said. Questions can be submitted in advance to [email protected] or during the event. To register, use this link.

Saturday (Oct. 17)

  • Royal Lake Park Cleanup – 7-10 a.m. at Royal Lake Park (5344 Gainsborough Drive) – Participate in park clean-ups and other volunteer-led projects to help keep parks clean, safe and beautiful, the website said. To register to volunteer, use this link.
  • Herndon Women’s March – 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Herndon Town Green – In the wake of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing, thousands of Women’s Marchers gathered across the country in their communities to honor the life and legacy of the Notorious RBG, the event ad said. Participants are asked to wear masks and practice social-distancing.

Photo via Fairfax County Park Authority 

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Del. Ken Plum/File photoThis is an opinion column by Del. Ken Plum (D), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

Today, August 26, is Women’s Equality Day commemorating the 1920 adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution which prohibits the federal and state governments from denying the right to vote to citizens of the United States on the basis of sex. August 26, 1920–just 100 years ago–was the day when Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby signed the proclamation that the required number of 36 states had ratified the amendment.

From the 1776 idea that “all men are created equal” to allowing women to vote was a long time coming with the real push for women’s suffrage coming about fifty years before it happened. The first women’s rights convention in the history of the United States was held in 1848 in Seneca Falls, New York, but it took many marches, petitions, and protests outside the White House, imprisonments and hunger strikes before the amendment passed Congress and was ratified just as the country emerged from another pandemic. The dedication of the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial at the location of the former Occoquan Workhouse in Northern Virginia where 120 women protesters were imprisoned was to have been dedicated this month but has been delayed with the pandemic. (https://suffragistmemorial.org/)

Virginia turned down an opportunity to be part of ratifying the Nineteenth Amendment by the General Assembly voting against it on February 12, 1920 but did get around to ratifying it on February 21, 1952. The Virginia Association Opposed to Woman’s Suffrage actively worked against the amendment using a familiar argument–“Woman Suffrage: The Vanguard of Socialism.” A 1910 broadside of the organization now in the collection of the Virginia State Library used the argument that “If you hold your marriage, your family life, your home, your religion, as sacred, dear and inviolate, to be preserved for yourself, and for your children, for all time, then work with all your might against Socialism’s vanguard–Woman’s Suffrage.” In another publication by the same organization the argument was made that “Women cannot have the franchise without going into politics, and the political woman will be a menace to society, to the home and to the state.”

Virginia was late also in ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment whose provisions include a guarantee that “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” Congress approved the amendment in 1972 with a deadline for ratification by 1979, later extended to 1982. Numerous attempts by me and others to get Virginia to ratify the ERA failed until the outcome of the elections in 2019 resulted in enough new members elected to make Virginia the 38th and last state needed to make ratification a part of the Constitution, but the issue of the deadline remains to be resolved.

Virginia has been too slow in responding to issues of human rights in the past, but I look forward to reporting to you in coming weeks on the progress being made in erasing racial inequalities in the Special Session of the General Assembly now underway.

File photo

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Del. Ken Plum/File photoThis is an opinion column by Del. Ken Plum (D), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

Women first came to the English colony at Jamestown Island in 1619–400 years ago, and hence their arrival is part of the American Evolution 1619-2019 commemoration going on throughout the Commonwealth. As with the other events that marked the historic significance of this year and that I have written about in this column, the real meaning of the events comes about in examining the decades and centuries that followed from 1619. There is no surprise that the land developers who were making investments in the new colony would advertise free voyage to women to come to this new land of potential opportunity and freedom from poverty and oppression they may have felt at home. If the colony was to have success in developing economic opportunities and stability that families would bring, it needed women to come and find themselves adventure…and a husband.

English women who came were not slaves although they no doubt had to work hard to start a life and a home in the wilderness. If they came with an indenture to pay off their voyage fare, they could work off their obligation over a number of years. But just like in the society they left, even with the indenture paid off, women were not free or in the same category as men. When Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence nearly a century and a half later, he proclaimed that “all men are created equal.” We speculate that if he were writing a document today that he would say “all persons,” but his writing at the time reflected women’s lesser role in society. The story of women’s rights continues to evolve even until today.

The capital of Virginia moved to Richmond in 1780, but it was not until this week that a memorial noting the contribution of women to the Commonwealth’s history was finally dedicated on Capitol grounds. The twelve women chosen to be depicted as bronze statues in the Virginia Women’s Monument represent women from all corners of the Commonwealth, both widely-celebrated women, as well as those with previously unknown but equally important stories. Many more women will be memorialized on the Wall of Honor and in the accompanying virtual educational modules. To get to know these women, most of whom I dare to say few have heard of, visit Women’s Monument.

Also recognizing the struggle of women for their rights, the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Association (TPSM) is building a national memorial to American suffragists–with a special focus on those imprisoned at Occoquan, VA, who endured harsh conditions and abuse to win voting rights for American women. For more information on the women who led the suffragist movement and the hardships they endured, visit suffragistmemorial.org. The nineteenth amendment ensuring women the right to vote was not ratified until 1920. Virginia rejected it in 1920 and did not vote for ratification until 1952.

A fitting tribute to Virginia women 400 years after their arrival would be passage of the Equal Rights Amendment by the General Assembly at its next legislative session.

File photo

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Today is International Women’s Day and Lake Anne Brew House is brewing up something special to celebrate.

The business, which is located on 11424 Washington Plaza West, will join 15 breweries to make a special beer called 15 Shades of Grisette. The recipe was piloted at Lake Anne Brew House.

The collaboration is part of the Pink Boots Society Collaboration Brew Day, which aims to raise the profile of women’s roles in the beer industry.

A release party will be held at Old Ox Brewery on April 13, followed by a taproom release at Lake Anne Brew House on April 14.

Here’s more from Melissa Romano, owner of Lake Anne Brew House:

As a female owned brewery, with a female Brewer on staff, we are active members of the Pink Boots Society (PBS), which is an organization that supports women in the Brewing industry. PBS sponsors an annual collaborative Brewing day (on national Women’s Day) where breweries are encouraged to come together and Brew a beer which will be shared among all participants. Portions of proceeds realized from the sales of the beer at each location go to sponsor scholarships and programs funded by PBS.

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When tens of thousands descend upon the National Mall on Saturday for the Women’s March on Washington, many will be adorned with pink knitted hats. A large number of those hats, products of the worldwide Pussyhat Project, will have filtered through a home on Lake Newport Road in Reston.

The house, which looks quiet from the outside, is filled with bustling action as women of all ages work hard to prepare hats that are arriving every day. Boxes upon boxes of the hats, knitted by concerned people from around the world, are stacked in the home’s basement in various stages of the organizational process.

College student Molly McKnight and her mother, Carrie, volunteered to make their Reston home the hub for the hats. Family friends, including Jeanne Robertson and Diane Brown, are among the dozens of volunteers who have assisted with the project.

“We’re the grunt work,” said Robertson, who was processing hats in the basement Wednesday along with Brown. “There are a lot of friends who are here to help.”

Stefanie Kamerman, the project’s D.C. organizer, is coordinating the effort. She said the final days have been hectic, as many hundreds of hats — some days as many as 2,000 — have been showing up through the mail every day.

“We are hoping to distribute them at the march successfully,” Kamerman said. “We are trying to get the hats from Point A to Point B, to get them to the women who are marching on the 21st.”

Between 200,000 and 500,000 women are expected to participate in the event Saturday, Kamerman said. About 60,000 hand-crafted hats have been donated to the project so far, she said. The collection site on Lake Newport Road has been operating since early December.

Politically, Kamerman said she considers herself a Libertarian. She said concerns about women’s issues that arose during the election of soon-to-be President Donald Trump led her to fight for the female voice.

“It’s not necessarily that we’re anti-Trump; we’re just trying to take back those infamous words he said on the ‘Access Hollywood’ video,” Kamerman said, referring to audio from 2005 that emerged prior to the election in which Trump used vulgar terms to describe his treatment of women.

According to the project’s website, its name is in part a reference to one of those terms used by Trump — and its goal is to “reclaim the term as a means of empowerment.”

Each hat that is donated is accompanied by a note from its knitter, which includes not just a name and a hometown, but a list of women’s rights issues most important to him or her.

“Being involved [in this project] has opened my eyes to a lot of women that are hurting, and who don’t feel like their voices are being heard,” Kamerman said.

More than 50 volunteers are working for the project across the United States, Kamerman said, with about half of them having worked from the Reston site at some point during the past month.

“It’s helping other women get something that is special,” she said. “We’re all working together for something amazing.”

Kamerman said she and many of the other volunteers will be attending the march Saturday, both to support the cause and to see the fruits of their labor.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what we’ve been working so hard for coming together,” she said. “It’s been an amazing experience.”

Kamerman said she is hopeful her 8-year-old daughter, who has been helping with the project as well, will lead the next generation of activism.

“I wanted to raise her in a world where she will continue the good fight for women and men across the nation, regardless of who they love or what they believe or who they are,” she said.

For more information about the Pussyhat Project, visit its website, Facebook page or Twitter account.

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