On January 21st, 2017, an estimated 440,000 (DDIC estimate) people marched in Washington D.C. for a myriad of reasons: women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, science community concerns, and immigration issues to name a few. Sister marches in most major cities in the US and on all 7 continents showed up in impressive numbers for the global march.
Redhawk Radio Exec members Maddie LaPlante-Dube, Allison Beer, and Claire Stemen attended marches, though not in D.C. They share their thoughts and experiences below.
“I’ve never been much into politics and certainly would not consider myself an activist, especially an outspoken one. However, witnessing the events in our country over the past few months forced me to confront what I truly value and inspired me to start actively expressing and fighting for my beliefs. Activism seemed overwhelming to me, but the Women’s March felt different; it was so accessible to women (and men) like myself who have never participated in any activism. At no time was l afraid for my safety or uncomfortable like I did not belong. The crowd of 15,000 in Cleveland was enthusiastic and wonderfully welcoming, and I was happy to be surrounded by so many others who share my beliefs and also want to fight for other human beings. It was empowering to be one of millions stepping out that morning in support of rights for women, LGBTQIA+, immigrants, disabled people, workers, and other marginalized groups; it felt like we can really make a difference.
Participating in the Women’s March is not enough, though; we must continue to speak out for what we believe in to effect real change. I appreciate the Women’s March’s organization of a 10 Actions/100 Days campaign, which encourages its followers to take action in 10 different ways over the first 100 days of the President’s term. With hundreds of thousands working alongside me, I feel comfortable and confident in expressing what I stand for and encourage others to analyze and act on their beliefs as well.”
— Allison, Website Manager
“I’ve always been passionate about advocating for women. I come from a family of exceptionally strong-willed women who inspire and motivate me. During this past election cycle I felt helpless and frustrated when minorities were thrown under the bus time and time again in the rhetoric of those intense months. I could not even begin to imagine what those in true peril felt. The opportunity to march with women of all ethnicities and identities as well as those who supported us was the sort of activism I’m sure everyone was craving.
Thankfully, there was a sister march in Cleveland that Allison and my mother attended with me. The march was kind, peaceful, and optimistic. I saw people with unique causes and concerns—they were all welcome and encouraged to use their voice. I smiled the whole time and I think a lot of other marchers did as well.
Of course our statement to our administration hardly ends after our record breaking march. There will be many more demonstrations to attend, more senators and representatives to call, and words to speak up with. We need to continue our momentum and fight for those who weren’t lucky to be born in our situation, as well as allowing them to take leadership.
A lot of work in building understanding and compromise happens within your personal conversations. I’ve been trying to listen more actively and especially when I disagree. It pays to hear others out and to avoid accusing or insulting them outright—you’ll both leave with more knowledge and hopefully more empathy. Keep vocal, keep your minds and hearts open.”
— Claire, Senior Editor
“As a raging feminist, I’m always preaching female solidarity. It’s a concept that’s easier preached than celebrated. But at the Boston Women’s March, it was second nature.
Over 175,000 people showed up in the Boston Commons the day after “President” “President” “President” “President” Trump was elected to remind America that its majority voters, especially its female ones, will not stand in silence. Everyone’s optimism was impossible to ignore; finally, after so much division over the past few months, it felt good, American even, to organize, rally and come together for a greater purpose.
There were so many people that my best friend and I didn’t actually begin the march until three hours after we’d ascended the subway steps into the light of peaceful protest. Once we did, we heard cheers ring out on all sides, cheers like: “No hate! No fear! Immigrants are welcome here!” and “My body, my choice!” (which was followed by the men in the crowd yelling, “Her body, her choice!”).
Perhaps my favorite moment, though, was when we began to round one of the final corners of our route, coming to an old establishment called Park Street Church. Up in the tower window, we could see someone manually ringing the bells, a pair of fists pulling ropes haltingly, with sheet music shuffled in front of them. As we reached the church, the bells began singing a familiar tune: the national anthem. You could almost feel the energy around us buzz, and slowly, solemnly, the crowd began to join in. All of our voices swelled together, rising to meet the bells, a thousands-large chorus singing the last line, sustaining it: “Land of the free, home of the brave.”
It’s been hard for me to feel proud to be an American recently. But in that moment, I was.”
— Maddie, Marketing & Promotions
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