Around Amherst: Youth group joins abortion rights banner drop

Staff Writer
Monday, December 06, 2021

AMHERST — Protecting reproductive rights is the aim of Generation Ratify Amherst, a group of Amherst teenagers who recently joined the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts for a banner drop in Northampton. 

Marisol Pierce Bonifaz, founder and co-director of Generation Ratify, said the display at First Churches of Northampton on Nov. 27, with a banner reading “Reproductive Rights are Human Rights,” is aimed at calling on the Supreme Court to not overturn Roe v. Wade when it considers the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case.

The effort is part of a national lobby campaign called #Rally4Roe.

“As a youth, it is our generation and future generations that will be affected by precedent set forth by the Supreme Court. We must protect our bodies,” Pierce Bonifaz said.

During the event, the organizations set up tables to hand out pamphlets, T-shirts, buttons and stickers, get sign-up lists and request financial support, and offer doughnuts, pastries and hot apple cider to passersby.

Several people spoke about pro-choice legislation, comprehensive sex education and why it is immoral to make abortion illegal, Pierce Bonifaz said. Those included Cady Reiken on behalf of Generation Ratify Amherst; Ana Devlin Gauthier, an incoming District 5 councilor in Amherst; Northampton mayor-elect Gina-Louise Sciarra; state Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa; Greta Hougen-Smith, for Students Against Sexual Harassment; Wendy Sibbision, author of “Helen in Trouble;” and Shanique Spalding, an organizer for the the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund.

Last year, Generation Ratify Amherst, founded in May 2020, did a similar banner drop at the same church as a tribute to late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

State of the Town

A “State of the Town” for Amherst, required by the town charter, will be held virtually Monday at 6:30 p.m.

The update on the past year of work will include presentations by Town Council President Lynn Griesemer and Town Manager Paul Bockelman. Both have to give reports under provisions of the charter.

They will be joined in speaking to the community and outlining accomplishments by School Committee Chairwoman Allison McDonald and Christopher Hoffmann, vice president of the trustees for the Jones Library. For Hoffmann, the presentation will serve as a farewell from service after being on the panel for 13 years, as he chose not to seek reelection in November.

Winter farmers market

The Winter Farmers Market at Hampshire Mall returns Saturday to the Target corridor at the Route 9 mall.

Vendors offering products from produce and meats, eggs and cheese to jewelry and crafts and clothing and blankets, will be set up every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through April 2, except Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Among the vendors, some of which will only be participating every other week, are Atlas Farm, Berkshire Mountain Bakery, Chase Hill Farm and Ishkabibble Crafts. EBT/SNAP and HIP will be accepted.

Market manager Cathleen O’Keefe said the best place to get information about each week’s vendors is from the website wfmhm.com/our-vendors. O’Keefe notes that some vendors will be offering pre-ordering, and curbside pickup can be arranged.

The market is back in the familiar section of the mall after using the former Autobahn space last winter as a means of protecting public health by providing more room for vendors and customers.

“We are looking forward to having the market return to its previous location in the Target wing,” said Mall General Manager Lynn Gray.


Grace Episcopal Church, at 14 Boltwood Ave. in Amherst, is holding its St. Nicholas Bazaar on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

The event will have various items for sale, including Christmas wreaths and decor, collectibles, books, antiques, jewelry, white elephants, artwork and toys.

Masks are required. For more information, contact Joan O'Brien at jobrien82@gmail.com

Meetings, all virtual

MONDAY: Local Historic District Commission, 3 p.m., and Town Council, 6:30 p.m.

WEDNESDAY: Board of Assessors, 11 a.m.

THURSDAY: Zoning Board of Appeals, 6 p.m.