Student walks in D.C. Women’s March

Student+walks+in+D.C.+Women%E2%80%99s+March

“We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health and our diverse families — recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.”
This is the mission millions of citizens, both women and men, championed during the Women’s March on Washington and women’s sister marches in cities across the United States and the globe on Saturday, one day following the inauguration of the 45th President, Donald Trump.
I was lucky enough to be one of over 500,000 women to travel to the nation’s capital and exercise my right of peaceful protest to stand in solidarity for human rights, supporting the community I like to call America.
A feminist by definition is one who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes.
Although we have come far since the days where women were barred from voting, holding professional jobs or experiencing basic liberties their male counterparts had been blessed with, there is still much work to be done.
I am aware that one out of every five women my age will be sexually assaulted before they receive their diploma.
I am aware that America’s 115th Congress is only 19.4 percent female and 80.6 percent male.
I am aware that when I graduate and get a job, there is a chance I will make only 80 cents for every dollar my husband makes.
To be frank, this is not equality. This is the reason I marched.
I was not a Donald Trump supporter during the election, and I took the loss hard.
However, as someone who has been politically active throughout my life, I carry the belief that the president was not America; the people are America.
Those who did not support President-elect Trump, or the controversial rhetoric he spread throughout his campaign, had the right to make their voices heard through protections granted in the First Amendment.
I participated in Gannon’s “Let’s Talk Post Election Discussion” as a panelist the week after the election.
Sitting in front of a microphone in Room 104 of the Zurn Science Center beside my fellow students and faculty, I could tell many of my peers held different viewpoints on the election outcome; some were ecstatic, others were crushed.
I walked away from the event confused and unsure what to do with my emotions.
A few weeks after the panel, talk of a women’s march had sparked on social media.
A woman from Hawaii had posted on Facebook the night of the presidential election discussing a possible march that would advocate for the rights of minority groups who were often marginalized during President Trump’s campaign.
By morning, she had received over 10,000 responses that indicated interest in making this dream a reality.
Weeks after the initial Facebook post was made, groups all across the world began planning sister marches and transportation to the main march in Washington.
My mom had found a bus that was leaving from a city near my hometown, and she purchased tickets so we could go together.
Before I knew it, the day had arrived, and after I received permission from my professors to miss Friday classes for travel, I drove home so I could begin my trip to the march.
On Inauguration morning, we got on a packed bus and began our trip to the capital.
Every rest stop along the way was filled with women wearing “pink p—- hats,” a uniting symbol of the march.
The energy in Washington the morning of the march was invigorating.
Metro cars were so packed with people going to the march that our landing platform was too full, and we had to be let out at the next stop.
Everywhere you looked in the city there were women and men of all ages, races, sexualities and backgrounds, marching for values we can all respect.
There were signs with encouraging messages of hope and love, chants that were intended to bring us together and celebrity speakers who spread messages to motivate us moving forward.
So many individuals gathered for the march that the original plans had to be modified.
Originally, the group was set to walk from Third and Independence to the White House, but the majority marched from the National Mall toward the Washington Monument and around city streets instead.
When I left Washington on Saturday, I felt re-energized and empowered to fight.
Quite honestly, I had never been so proud to be a woman in America.
The day’s events were incredibly peaceful.
No arrests were made throughout the day, and no violent crimes occurred.
On the bus ride home, I noticed much backlash emerge on social media regarding the march.
Much of this, I believe, came from misinformation and general opposition from those who voted for our president, believing that the march was solely anti-Trump, which is far from the truth.
I was comforted when I logged onto Twitter on Sunday afternoon and saw the president’s tweet. “Peaceful protests are a hallmark of our democracy. Even if I don’t always agree, I recognize the rights of people to express their views,” the tweet read.
Moving forward, I believe this is an attitude we can all strive to keep in our minds.
Of course there will always be topics that we, as Americans, disagree on.
What makes this country great is our ability to stand up for our beliefs, overcome our disparities and compromise to make the best solutions for our people.
If you agree with policies our president is planning to push through, support them.
If you do not agree, remember that you are not alone, and it is always acceptable to stand up for what you believe in.
Donate your time, donate your money and write or call your representatives to let them know what you want our America to look like.
In the meantime, be nice to each other and respect people’s opinions, even if you don’t fully agree with them.
We the people have the right to work for a future we believe in.
Let’s do this together.

KATE ROBB
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