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United Methodist Women rally in New York, Nashville

Flanked by a police escort, women prepare to begin a march in New York marking International Women’s Day on March 8. United Methodist Women was among the march’s organizers. UMNS Photo by Linda Bloom.

UMNS Photo by Linda Bloom.

Flanked by a police escort, women prepare to begin a march in New York marking International Women’s Day on March 8. United Methodist Women was among the march’s organizers.

United Methodist Women and supporters rally in observance of International Women’s Day at the Scarritt-Bennett Center in Nashville, Tenn. A UMNS photo by Mike DuBose.

A UMNS photo by Mike DuBose.

United Methodist Women and supporters rally in observance of International Women’s Day at the Scarritt-Bennett Center in Nashville, Tenn.

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March 8, 2013

NEW YORK (UMNS) — A wet snowfall failed to dampen the spirits of United Methodists and other women who marched in midtown Manhattan March 8 for International Women’s Day.

United Methodist Women was among five organizations coordinating the march and rally near the United Nations, which focused on protection and support of human rights for women.

A couple of hundred women, along with a sprinkling of men, gathered at First Avenue and 42nd Street, then walked two blocks west and five blocks north to Dag Hammarskjold Plaza. With a small police escort, they occasionally stopped traffic. A few truck horns honked approvingly at an intersection as they passed by.

Among the marchers in the UMW delegation was Rusudan Kalichava from the Republic of Georgia, who was experiencing her first encounter with women from places like Sudan, Congo and Korea through her participation this week in the Commission on the Status of Women meeting at the United Nations.

Kalichava, co-founder of Association ATINATI, has worked on many projects assisting women, children and youth who have lived through conflict and violence. But, she said, she had little information before about how women in other regions were coping with the effects of conflict.

“I love the spirit of these women,” she said as she prepared to walk across 42nd Street. “I feel we are together and can say no to violence.”

The marchers fortified their soggy signs and wet feet with chants supporting women’s rights and calling for an end to violence against women and girls, the theme of the commission meeting, also known as CSW-57. “Break the silence, end the violence,” they chanted.

Speakers making brief remarks at the plaza included Nelly del Cid, a member of the UMW delegation to CSW-57. She is program coordinator of Mercy Dreamweavers in Honduras, where she trains facilitators of grassroots organizations in alternatives to violence.

In Nashville, Tenn., sunshine and springlike temperatures greeted UMW members who participated in an International Women’s Day rally.

The event, featuring remarks from Harriett Jane Olson, UMW’s executive director, and Yvette Richards of the United Methodist Missouri Annual (regional) Conference and UMW president, coincided with an organizational meeting at the Scarritt-Bennett Center.

Linda Bloom is a United Methodist News Service multimedia reporter based in New York. Follow her at http://twitter.com/umcscribe. Contact her at  (646) 369-3759 ornewsdesk@umcom.org.