Protest ‘pretty cool for Erie’

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By OLIVIA BURGER
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This weekend I found a newfound pride for my city, for my generation and for my fellow females.

On Saturday, hundreds of people showed up at Erie’s Perry Square to join sister cities across the nation in the 2017 Women’s March, sending a message that along with the rest of the world, Erie supports diversity and equality.

As I stood alongside Peach Street with a camera in my hand, trying to capture photographs of the marchers crossing the street towards the square, I heard someone call out to a photographer from the Erie Times-News who was behind me.

“Pretty cool for Erie, huh?”

The reporter replied with some sort of cheerful agreement.

Throughout the afternoon I heard lots of people mixed in the crowd who were also surprised, but pleased with the mass turnout.

I guess maybe I haven’t been around the Erie area long enough to realize that what happened Saturday IS a big deal for the Erie area.

Erie isn’t particularly known for its passionate participation in rallies or big demonstrations, yet the turnout for the women’s march was thrilling to say the least.

Not only was the amount of marchers impressive, but the diversity among the crowd was inspiring.

I expected the event to be made up of young people my age and mostly middle-aged women, but to my surprise and satisfaction I was very, very wrong.

The women’s march was hardly a women’s only event and there were almost just as many men at the rally.

If it weren’t for the bright pink clothing and the signs everywhere, you wouldn’t have been able to pick out the purpose for the rally right away.

In addition to seeing both genders participate in the rally, it was also uplifting to see the range in ages of the marchers.

There were 80-year-old women holding signs that said, “I can’t believe we are still protesting for this” as well as little girls in strollers holding signs that said, “When I get older I’ll fix this.”

While it was sad to see that women have been denied certain rights for decades, its reassuring to see the number of young children growing up and learning the future is female.

The success of the march in Erie, and the marches around the world, confirmed one thing – women are powerful and they get stuff done.

The marches certainly sent a message to Washington, but were conducted in a completely peaceful manner.

Regardless of your political views and backgrounds, I think that everyone should respect the right to voice your opinion and admire the power of peaceful protest.

That’s a principle that our nation was built upon and the beauty of democracy.

At the end of the day, I think we can all at least agree that living in a country where we are able to stand up for what we believe in is a blessing.

Maybe if we can agree to respect each other’s rights and celebrate the foundation of our nation, perhaps we may find that we are not as divided as it may seem.