PUTNAM COUNTY, N.Y. - A group of Putnam County residents gathered earlier this week at the Mahopac Library to voice what seems to be a growing, common concern: the current political policies and climate in Washington, and its fallout on the rest of the country.
The group, which have named themselves the Putnam Progressives, started small - meeting with a group of about 10 in January.
After that, the decision was made to reach out to the community, to gauge general response.
"We decided to reach out to the community to see if there was a response," group member Baila Lemonik of Mahopac told Daily Voice.
Lemonik said the group expected 20 or so to come for the February meeting. Closer to 100 showed up.
Lemonick said the group is concerned about protecting the democratic values of people in the community and the country.
"So people can feel safe and taken care of - health care-wise, housing-wise," Lemonik said. "We want to keep people safe, healthy and living in a democratic society."
Lemonik said Sunday's meeting had representatives from every town in Putnam.
"The energy was incredible," she said. "The dynamic was powerful, wonderful... people were relieved that they're not alone in their fear for safety, health care... so many issues.
"We want people to know there's no reason for fear," she added. "Hope comes in numbers. All over the country, people are fighting about homophobia, bigotry, racism... we hope for this to be a catalyst for change.
Lemonik said the group is about supporting each other, but more importantly about action.
"Supporting each other is a nice side benefit," she said, "but we want to be about actions - voting drives, speaking to legislators, going to marches, to community events at town halls. Keeping immigrants safe, fighting for women's rights. Those are all at the forefront."
The group is currently looking for a place to hold its next meeting, tentatively set for March 26. Anyone interested in the Putnam Progressives or in attending their next meeting can check out their Facebook page by clicking here . Lemonik said a website will be up shortly.
"The message is that there are people in the area who are also unhappy with the way things are going in Washington," she said. "Change has to happen so people can feel safe."