By Iryna Shkurhan ’18 and Maya Engstrom ’18
Cheers of pure passion filled the streets in cities all across the country in conjunction with the Women’s March on Washington on January 21, the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration. More than 250,000 people gathered in New York City to protest for rights that they felt were in jeopardy.
Participants of the march took a stand on countless issues that have proven to be important now more than ever. Women’s issues such as equal pay, reproductive rights, and access to affordable healthcare, were some of the leading concerns of attendees. Many attendees felt upset over the election, disagreed with his proposed policies and were angy at his distasteful rhetoric towards women.
“It’s shocking that in 2017 we still have to fight for reproductive rights in our country,” said Leah Shteinberg ‘18. “Seeing all these people at the march fighting for the rights that we deserve inspired me to be more vocal about issues that matter.”
Crowds of people filled up major streets and chanted “Women’s rights are human rights!” and “My body my choice!” as they made their way through the city, which seemed to be more densely packed than ever before. There was a strong feeling of unity among people from different walks of life who came out to send a strong message and make their voices heard.
Malak Diouri ‘18 said, “This is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever gotten to do. People need to realize that we are not going to sit back while a misogynist runs our country and ‘give him a chance’. We have to make a change now.” This was a moment that she, and many others, will remember for their whole lives.
The march wasn’t only centered on women’s rights, but also focused on the rights of immigrants, muslims, people of color, LGBT individuals, and other groups of marginalized people who have been attacked throughout Trump and Pence’s campaign.
Mrs. Catherine Kaczmarek said, “I felt like I had to do something to express my concerns, even though I realized that the march wasn’t going to solve anything. It was an expression of solidarity that made me feel better. Women’s reproductive rights and the environment were two huge issues that I was concerned about.”
As the crowds of pink hats filled the streets, you could feel the warmth of the people surrounding you and a feeling of inspiration that many women had never felt before. People’s strong voices were filled with nothing but peace and positivity, making the messages people were sending truly heard.
“It was really spirited and people were holding so many clever signs there was a great sense of solidarity,” said Kaczmarek.
“I think one of the most important things about the Women’s March is the idea of girls and women of all races, sexual orientations, and classes uniting for the same cause,” said Stella Shulmister ‘18. It’s so important for women to stick together and stand up for each other.”
The number of men who attended the march in support was equally amazing. They shouting words of encouragement in alignment with women, such as “Her body, her choice!” Support from all groups of people is what will earn us full equality from our oppressors, and is what will make us rise.
This is what democracy looks like.