The Osprey

My Experience at the 2018 Women’s March

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As you may well know, the inauguration of 45th President Donald Trump also marked the day of the first annual Women’s March where millions of women, men, and non-binaries, all protested on the streets against sexism, racism, homophobia, Islamphobia, transphobia, and all other forms of prejudice throughout the world. It’s no secret that that these marches were sparked by Donald Trump and Mike Pence, and that the entire Women’s March organization was created to combat Trump and his ideology as well as everyday injustices we see in the United States. I try not to be too political when writing as I don’t think it is fair to have a very liberal writer citing their opinions with the absence of a conservative perspective on The Osprey, but I would just like to detail my experience of what it was like being at a rally/march as I think it could be interesting to most anyone.

Watching the marches last year on the television was so empowering and filled me with hope that I hadn’t had in those past few months; I wished more than anything that I could be there marching too. However, it isn’t that easy to just travel to Washington D.C. on the tip of a hat so it wasn’t until this year, when my dad arranged for us two to go to New York City for one of the marches, that I got to go. Skipping the forms of travel and finding our way around the city, as that is not what this is about, I can say that the day of the march in NYC, trains were packed and some had standing-only room for all of the marchers who crowded the stations to get to the city. Pretty much all over Manhattan, you could tell that there was a march going on as people with homemade signs and knitted, pink hats walked to the starting point of the march. Moreover, so many roads were blocked off with NYPD dividers, railings, and officers, that travel for anyone else was most certainly challenged.

It was supposed to start at Columbus Circle but got moved around slightly due to the massive number of people who showed up to participate. I had never seen so many people in person in my life before and I doubt that I ever will see that many people again. According to the New York Times, there were over 200,000 protesters just in New York City and helicopters flew above the crowds, many specks in the distance over the seemingly never-ending flow of people in the streets. My dad and I got there pretty early so we could just make out the stage and tents where the rally would be held, and there were speakers all along the dozens of blocks that the march took over. People who couldn’t fir in the streets in between the dividers marched on the sidewalks and stood on the bases of traffic lights to get a better view of the speakers. There was also a lot of press there as well, and lots of photographers and people with notepads recorded the rally and march.

I took a survey a representative from a university offered me about my political views and why I came to the march, and noticed that there were numerous other universities doing this as well. Of course, there were the people who saw the goldmine that this march was for sales and “Power to the Polls” Women’s March shirts were held out to me over and over again with my feminist sweatshirt. After standing around for a bit and listening to music on the speakers, the MC’s started speaking; introducing the event and getting hyped up. This all started at 11:30, as planned, and then, dozens of speakers went up and made speeches about the march, the world, their experiences, and some even performed dances or songs. Stars such as Whoopi Goldberg, Halsey, and Veronica Dunne all spoke-many sharing #metoo stories and how they had seen change in the past year. I recommend looking up the speeches by these three as they were very empowering and really helped make the day what it was. It was awesome to hear these speeches but after a while people were getting antsy and our legs started to hurt from standing so the chant, “March, march!” started going around and we got moving at 1:20.

I had made a sign the night before that said: “Nevertheless, she persisted.” which is an allusion to the silencing of Elizabeth Warren in the middle of her speech criticizing Attorney general nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions. If you would like to learn more about that, use the following address: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/02/08/nevertheless-she-persisted-becomes-new-battle-cry-after-mcconnell-silences-elizabeth-warren/?utm_term=.59326fc40a63

It was slow but steady moving as we marched on, chanting “Women’s rights are human rights”, “No DACA, do deal”, “Black lives matter”, “Say it proud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here”, “Love trumps hate”, “Show me what democracy looks like-this is what democracy looks like”, and “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Donald Trump has got to go!”. There was a lot of cheering and chanting as we walked through the streets holding up our protest signs as high as we could. It was all a bit tiring and somewhat overwhelming as we had been outside for hours and holding up your arms for over an hour kind of hurts (you eventually get used to it) but, the energy was always high and there were so many smiles.

We only had a few issues with counter protesters, and I only saw about three or four on the long march. However, with such few numbers and two hundred thousand women’s march participants-it certainly did not end well for them. There were no violence, alcohol or drugs that I could see; just so much positivity, empowerment, and defiance towards xenophobia that anyone trying to but a damper on the mood did not do so successfully for anyone.

The march, for us, who had been located towards the front and used the sidewalks at times to get some space and speed, ended at 2:30 or so when we reached the official end of the path. However; the march continued for others for several more hours and protesters continued marching on through other streets in groups.

Although a bit tedious and overwhelming at times, the march was an experience that I would not trade in for most anything. I am, as one can expect from a writer of a Feminism Column, a feminist and I wanted to make some sort of difference or partake in something active. The Women’s March was a perfect opportunity for me to go out and continue the fight for equality though non-violent protests to get the word out and to stand up against governmental and societal inequalities.

 

Sources:

“Women’s March 2018: Thousands of Protesters Take to the Streets.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 20 Jan. 2018, www.nytimes.com/2018/01/20/us/womens-march.html.

“‘Nevertheless, she persisted’ becomes new battle cry after McConnell silences Elizabeth

Warren.” washingtonpost.com, 8 Feb. 2017, www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/02/08/

nevertheless-she-persisted-becomes-new-battle-cry-after-mcconnell-silences-elizabeth-warren/

?utm_term=.d765a7709305. Accessed 22 Jan. 2018.

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My Experience at the 2018 Women’s March