Women’s March Revealed the Power of Unity
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In a movement echoing the voice of those who have marched before, women around the globe stood in solidarity last weekend, raising their voices in defiance of any action against civil rights that President Donald Trump might try to enact.
This movement is thought to have been created in response to President Trump’s comments about women during his candidacy, most of which were met with outrage at his apparent lack of respect toward women. Women took social media by storm in protest, and what started as a small group of friends gathering to protest President Trump quickly exploded into a historic, global social movement.
Event Coordinator Maria Garcia-Bachman told the Spokesman Review that the original expected turnout was only around 200. As Jan. 21 approached the expected number grew to around 2500. When the march finally happened, Spokane was rattled by an estimated 8,000 marchers and a staggering 3.3 million from around the world, with protests occurring in France, England, Greece, Portugal, Netherlands, Ireland and Germany, in addition to the nationwide protests that occurred in almost every major city in the U.S.
Women have banded together throughout history to demand equality. In 1913, the Library of Congress has recorded accounts of 8,000 suffragettes banding together to march on Washington, D.C. the day before President Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration. The modern Women’s March on Washington mirrors this historic movement and will be labeled in history as the day that the world came together in defiance of one who insulted a group that makes up half of the world’s population.
Danielle Russell, coordinator for the Women’s March on Washington Photography and Physical Materials Collections, said via email “Women are not a monolith, solely defined by gender. Woman are diverse, we represent half of this country, and any social justice movement (civil rights, disability rights, ending violence, environmental justice, immigrant rights, LGBTQ* rights, reproductive rights, worker’s rights, etc.) should count as a ‘women’s issue.’”
It is this belief, we believe, that fueled the staggering turnout in support of the march. The idea that someone who sits in the most important seat in America could be so blatantly disrespectful of not only women, but of any person they believe opposes them is an affront not only to human rights but also human decency, and lacks any sign of respect.
We, as Americans, have a global reputation of being a fairly boisterous people, always speaking our minds and voicing our opinions to the world. This is a right that was granted to the American people by the men who penned the Constitution, not only providing us with the right to free speech, but also the right to gather and peaceably protest when something happens that they do not agree with.
EWU sophomore Makenzie Ley said at the protest “This is kind of the first time I’ve had a chance to [take] a big step … everything has been really sensitive and everyone is divided, you can’t really talk to parents about it.”
People joining together to march for human rights is not a new concept, but it is a wonderful privilege that we as Americans are exercising once more. There has not been a movement of this extent since the Civil Rights Movement, which boasted a march of 400,000 people. The people’s voices can not and will not be stifled, and this is what we consider to be a basic human right. Freedom of speech is the core of democracy; the freedom to believe what you choose and to voice those beliefs. It is a right that the courts have upheld time and time again, and it is wonderful to discover that so many people do not take that right for granted.
“Don’t just come to march today and then tomorrow be like ‘alright I’m good, good-luck everybody,’” said Angela Jones, EWU chief of staff during her speech on Saturday. “Make a choice and be fierce about it, unapologetically fierce about it, ‘cause not everybody is going to agree with you.”
These words couldn’t ring more true. This march was a signal to the incoming administration that, while you may be able to silence the voice of a single person, you cannot silence the voices the millions. Not when those people are standing for what they truly believe. They will not be ignored.