Niskayuna native spends birthday marching in D.C.

Niskayuna's Katt DiCocco, right, and Schenectady's Peggy Schalit participated in the Women's March on Washington last Saturday in the nation's capital.PHOTO PROVIDED/ Niskayuna's Katt DiCocco, right, and Schenectady's Peggy Schalit participated in the Women's March on Washington last Saturday in the nation's capital.

By Bill Buell
Gazette Reporter
Katt DiCocco has visited Washington, D.C., four times now, and she’s also participated in her share of marches and protests.
Nothing, however, prepared the Niskayuna native and Albany resident for what she experienced last Saturday – her 31st birthday – at the Women’s March on Washington.
“I thought I knew what to expect, but I guess you never really know what it’s going to be like until you’re there,’ said DiCocco, a 2004 Niskayuna High graduate. “It was amazing. What a birthday.”
DiCocco, her mother and three friends left Niskayuna at 7 a.m., rented a car, drove to Virginia and stayed in a hotel about an hour outside of D.C. On Saturday morning they got up early and took the train into Washington.
“Friday night we just hung around and watched the news coverage of everything that was going in Washington,” said DiCocco, the store manager at Lush Cosmetics in Crossgates Mall. “We wanted to avoid all the hectic stuff that was going on in D.C. But we got up early Saturday morning, we were on the train by 5:45 and headed right to the site of the march.”
DiCocco and her group got their bearings, found the stage and all the big screens that were set up, headed over to the Planned Parenthood tent to check that out, and then headed back to the stage area where Micheal Moore, Madonna, Ashley Judd, Scarlet Johannson and others spoke and performed.
“We actually got pretty close to the stage and stayed there for about six hours listening to all the speakers and music,” she said. “We could see the Capitol from where we were and we eventually started marching. There were actually so many people there it was difficult to march, but we marched where we could.”
DiCocco; her mother, Maureen Vedder DiCocco of Niskayuna; Peggy Schalit of Schenectady; Kelsey Gorman of Latham; and Mikaela Perez of Albany all had their walking shoes on, but they didn’t get far. It also didn’t matter.
“We got past the Smithsonian and we tried to get down the street and get to Pennsylvania Avenue but there were just too many people,” said DiCocco, who has participated in fossil fuel protests and has marched in support of animal rights. “You really couldn’t do much, but that was fine. We made our voices heard, and you can’t deny the impact. It wasn’t just the march on Washington. There were marches worldwide and it made us feel like we really had a support system. We felt like we had the entire world, our entire gender, with us. The camaraderie, the inspiration. It was pretty amazing.”
A supporter of Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary, DiCocco voted for Hillary Clinton in the presidential election.
“As soon as the march was announced after the election I started thinking about going,” said DiCocco. “I had two friends who wanted to go, my mom and a friend of hers wanted to go. The march also fell on my birthday so my mom did everything. She got the rental car, got the hotel room. It was a great experience for me.”
While there was some violence and destruction on Friday in Washington, D.C., the 500,000 or so people that showed up on Saturday were well-behaved.
“I didn’t read about any arrests, and there was nothing of any concern that I saw the whole day,” said DiCocco. “There was nobody in the crowd trying to stir us up, and no one protesting us that I saw. There was none of that stuff.”