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March

Alexandra Moore holds up a sign at a women's march event in Seneca Falls Saturday.

Women March in Seneca Falls has big plans for the suffrage centennial in 2020. 

Continuing a tradition that began in 2017, the group will hold a march and rally in Seneca Falls. There are other activities planned, including events at the New York State Equal Rights Heritage Center, Harriet Tubman's grave and Auburn Public Theater in Auburn. 

The remaining events will be held in Seneca Falls. There will be a concert featuring BETTY, a feminist music group, and a conversation about the history of women activism from the Haudenosaunee Confederacy to the 21st century. 

Melina Carnicelli, lead organizer for Women March in Seneca Falls, said in a phone interview Tuesday that when the group planned the first match in 2017 they decided to continue holding annual rallies leading up to the suffrage centennial celebration in 2020. 

"This has been in the works for three years now," she said.

One goal of the 2020 event, Carnicelli continued, is to encourage attendees to vote in a presidential election year.

There are six women, all Democrats, running for president. But Carnicelli noted that Women March in Seneca Falls is a nonpartisan group and doesn't endorse candidates. The group is affiliated with MARCH ON, a national nonprofit organization that formed after the first women's marches in 2017. 

The groups focus on various political and social issues, including equal pay and gender parity in elected office, ending violence against women, supporting LGBTQIA rights, bolstering immigrants and passing the Equal Rights Amendment. 

With Seneca Falls' status as the birthplace of women's rights — it hosted the first women's rights convention in 1848 — the three-day event will commemorate the 100th anniversary of women winning the right to vote. 

The 19th Amendment was ratified in August 1920 and prevents denying citizens the right to vote "on account of sex." 

Carnicelli believes there will be a large crowd for the 2020 march. In 2017, an estimated 10,000 people attended the march in Seneca Falls. The crowd size grew to roughly 15,000 in 2018. 

This year, there was a smaller crowd of about 1,000 people. Carnicelli said low attendance was due to a winter storm. 

"We are really positioning ourselves as a national event and being the kickoff to the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment and the birthplace of the 19th Amendment," Carnicelli said. "That's what we believes set us apart in the country." 

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Online producer Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or robert.harding@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.

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Online producer and politics reporter

I have been The Citizen's online producer and politics reporter since December 2009. I'm the author of the Eye on NY blog and write the weekly Eye on NY column that appears every Sunday in the print edition of The Citizen and online at auburnpub.com.