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Women, and others, march for change

January 22, 2018

“If you can’t stop thinking about it, don’t stop working for it.”

On Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, six hundred thousand individuals stood together in downtown Los Angeles in protest. The 2018 Women’s March marks the second annual nationwide march. The first Women’s March took place on Jan. 20, 2017, to protest the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump.

Gathering at 8 a.m., individuals of all ages, genders and ethnicities crowded Pershing Square, ready to be heard once again. Holding signs with messages from Oprah quotes to presidential shaming, these 600,000 believers were ready to be the change.

People gathered nationwide; 130,000 in San Francisco, 300,000 in New York, 300,000 in Chicago and hundreds of thousands more in cities across the United States.

Debbie Tien, senior, and her friends marched for change on women’s issues on Saturday in downtown Los Angeles. Photograph by Taylor Sakata.

The Women’s March’s mission, according to their website, is “To harness the political power of diverse women and their communities to create transformative social change. Women’s March is a women-led movement providing intersectional education on a diverse range of issues and creating entry points for new grassroots activists and organizers to engage in their local communities through training, outreach programs and events. Women’s March is committed to dismantling systems of oppression through nonviolent resistance and building inclusive structures guided by self-determination, dignity, and respect.”

Protesters who attended stood up for causes such as immigration protection, women’s rights, racial division and other current issues. Kayla Ho, 17, said, “Chants from women’s choice to equal pay were shouted by peaceful activists ranging in age. It was truly an astonishing experience to witness the presence of all these individuals fighting for a cause.”

One marcher carried a sign saying, “Stop pretending racism is patriotism.” Photograph by Debbie Tien

From chants, such as “We need a leader, not a creepy tweeter,” to speeches from influential media individuals, such as actress Viola Davis, individuals in attendance were empowering each other. People came with a point to make.

The 2018 Women’s March was not only fueled by inequality and one year of poor presidential leadership, but also by movements, such as #TimesUp and #MeToo, and in support of sexual assault victims. Signs stated, “I am marching today for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault who are trapped at home,” and in New York  singer-songwriter Halsey recited her poem “A Story like Mine” about her experience with sexual assualt.  

Amidst the empowering and uplifting marchers, there were anti-protesters as well. According to the LA Times, “There was a short confrontation between supporters of President Trump and some marchers near the end of the march route near Los Angeles Police Department headquarters, where a group of eight Trump supporters stood waving flags and speaking through bullhorns. Women’s March volunteers stood in a line holding hands in front of the pro-Trump crowd, separating them from the bulk of the marchers.”

Voices against the marchers were also heard. Photograph by Debbie Tien

Not only did the pro-Trump crowd make an appearance, but the President himself tried to intrude in the obvious anti-Trump protest by tweeting, “Beautiful weather all over our great country, a perfect day for all Women to March. Get out there now to celebrate the historic milestones and unprecedented economic success and wealth creation that has taken place over the last 12 months. Lowest female unemployment in 18 years!”

Regardless of the inevitable differing views, the atmosphere continued to be filled with loving, inclusive chants to free hugs signs. I had never been in a group that was so inclusive and empowering. I was brought to tears by an overwhelming wave of joy, and the Women’s March 2018 gave me a realization that we in the midst of change. It is a gift: this is what our future looks like.

Taylor Sakata summed up her Women’s March experience: “The women’s march made me feel incredibly empowered. Seeing so many people come together for such a positive cause, spreading love and support to everyone around them made me feel proud to be a girl growing up to become an empowered woman. The women’s march was an example of how important it is to stick up for your beliefs and become united with others who feel the same way to work to change the future.”

We are tired of being silenced. In Los Angeles, shouting through megaphones, women, men, children marched together from Pershing Square to City Hall; united, yet diverse, we were ready to be heard. In Chicago, protesters flooded Grant Park dressed in pink hats chanting “We Lead with Love” to Federal Plaza.

Overall, the 2018 Women’s March struck once again proving we, the people, cannot be shut down, even when the government is. Standing together, the individuals who marched on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, are ready to be the game changers.

 

 

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