Women’s March on Washington surpasses expectations
By Elizabeth Casella, Managing Editor
Thousands of men, women and children descended on the city brandishing signs calling “to make America nice again” and stating the message that “the future is female.” Signs of all varieties of colors, designs and messages created a kaleidoscope of hope. The hope that standing together, changes could be made and fought for. On Saturday, Jan. 21 much of the city of Washington D.C. was flooded with a sea of pink hats and homemade signs, raising their voices in support of women’s rights and equality within the nation. The Women’s March on Washington had arrived and would not leave without making a statement.
On the first full day of Donald Trump’s presidency he attended meetings with his intelligence agencies, one being the FBI, and attended a prayer service at the Washington National Cathedral. In buses, cars, caravans and any other mode of transportation that can be thought of, demonstrators flocked to the National Mall and surrounding areas to hear from prominent women’s rights activists, lawmakers and celebrities. The original agenda for the day was for the speakers to start at 10 a.m. and end at 1 p.m. so that the procession could begin. The planned route was to begin at the mall and then walk by the Washington monument and end near the White House. With the speeches going on until well after 3 p.m., the official march was cancelled, but that did not stop the 1.2 million participants that arrived. They flooded the streets of the official route and into the streets of downtown while unleashing chants such as “Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, Donald Trump has got to go” and “We want a leader, not a creepy tweeter.”
“So many reasons brought me to the march. I am here to support those people who are going to be marginalized by this new presidency. The subtext of fascism that this government is leaning towards is very disturbing and I am a very concerned citizen,” said Maryland resident, Lisa Oberg.
The march was estimated to only have around 500,000 participants. Not only did this number get doubled, but also protests around the country and world had immense participation that could not have been predicted. In every state across the country there was a protest and in every major city around the world. All seven continents including Antarctica showed support for the women’s cause from environmental policies, to healthcare issues, to abortion rights, LGBTQI rights and full gender equality issues.
“I am here as a matter of my religion. It teaches me that I must stand up for minorities. Nobody is better than nobody. White is like black, men is like woman, everybody is the same, able or disabled, we are all the same. God looks at our hearts, not at our skin color and that is why I am here today and that is what I believe in,” said New Jersey resident Amia Strauz.
This march began with one woman posting her concerns on Facebook and calling for a march to make change happen. The post received so many shares and likes that she decided to make this post a reality with around 14 others that helped to organize the march in Washington. The original estimation was to have 250,000 people march together with speakers that were organizers and friends. It then got to be bigger than imagined and gained popularity with celebrities and women’s activists alike.
President Trump’s response to these protests was that he was visibly outraged while seeing press coverage according to White House sources. He tweeted out saying “peaceful protests are a hallmark of our democracy. Even if I don’t always agree, I recognize the rights of people to express their views.” He tweeted the following day, “watched protests yesterday but was under the impression that we just had an election! Why didn’t these people vote? Celebs hurt cause badly.” He did not respond to the protests in any other manner. Social media has responded with women who were against the march striking out with messages that they feel they don’t need the march and that they are perfectly equal already. Many others do not agree with these views though, and may not have participated in the march, but still show their support for those who were there standing up for their rights.
“When Trump got elected people told me I shouldn’t come on my already planned trip. I am here in the capitol to visit the sites for the last time in my life. I told them that I wasn’t going to let that man dictate my life. If I want to go, I’ll go. I am here to visit some of the sites and I’ll see the capitol. This march today is unbelievable. I’ve never seen anything like this before and I hope to see something like this again, even soon, but I doubt it,” said 83-year-old and San Francisco native James Herbinkux.
Herbinkux added, “Economically and financially I don’t get anything out of this but seeing how our country works and how great it is, I get something great out of that as a witness.”
Since the march the organization that started it is now calling for ten actions within the next one hundred days to keep the momentum of the march going. The first that they have named is the postcard party where participants write postcards to their senators about what matters most to them and how they will continue to fight for it in the coming days, weeks and months. These actions will show that participants will not go quietly and hopefully will actually create the change they feel is needed within the nation. Women’s rights are human rights and equality for them will hopefully lead to equality for all.
Photos in slideshow by Elizabeth Casella, Managing Editor
For a personal timeline of the event, see: https://schoolcraftconnection.com/2017/02/04/through-my-eyes/