On January 20th, Donald J. Trump took the presidential oath. On January 21st, we marched. Despite the name “Women’s March,” men, women, and children alike traveled miles and miles to Washington DC in order to make their voices heard. Some arrived by train, others by car, and others even by plane, however one thing was the same for all. They were gathered for a cause bigger than themselves. Signs ranged from racial and religious justice to women’s rights to environmental policy. I, unfortunately, was not able to attend this march but being that I’m only a train ride away from Washington, I know of plenty of people who decided to put on their protest hats, bright pink mind you, and make their voices heard. One of these people, Morgan Grizzle, a freshman from the University of Maryland College Park, agreed to share her experience.
Where did you march from and to?
I don’t really know DC too well but we got off at Metro Center and walked as close as we could to the stage, I want to say we were on 7th and possibly C street but I’m not too sure. It was super crowded and I left before the actual marching but it was still a great time.
What did you march for?
I marched for a lot of things: for Black Lives Matter, for women’s rights (abortion is a big one!!!), against hatred, for LGBTQ+ people, for Muslims, to protect the arts and science….mostly for people to have their rights. For me I wasn’t necessarily marching against something but rather for a lot of other things!! I also marched for the women who couldn’t make it out there themselves and who deserve their rights because women’s rights = human rights.
What were some other ideas you saw people marching for/protesting against?
I saw a ton of different posters and such! A lot of them were related to Donald Trump’s extremely hateful comments and were along the lines of “My p*ssy grabs back” or commenting about “nasty women” and such, but I also saw men marching for gender equality which was really nice! I saw some stuff for LGBTQ+ equality, for Muslims, “my body my choice,” a TON of posters related to Star Wars (Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia saying “A woman’s place is in the rebellion,” and “Rebellions are built on hope” from Rogue One), and even some related to Harry Potter and Zelda. I also saw some stuff about economic equality, and one poster said “Trump the 1%”.
Do you feel as though you made a difference?
–I feel I definitely made a difference! Even though I was just one person, it takes “one person” to make up a crowd of 100, 1,000, or even 100,000 people. It has to start somewhere, and bringing my poster and being one of the many to voice her opinion made me feel super cool. It’s also amazing to have been a part of history! When my kids or my grandkids ask me about this election cycle I can say I was in DC helping to protest and it’s just a super cool feeling.
What would you say to people who want to make their voice heard but aren’t sure how or where to begin?
–I would say to them, do all the research you can! Educate yourself as much as possible and I would definitely recommend getting on Twitter or Facebook at the very least. SO much of my news that I get is from those two sites, especially Twitter since it can be shared so quickly! Build yourself up a network of people — follow activists on Twitter and Facebook and talk about these issues with people you know. Raising awareness is always something you can do, and you don’t need to go to a huge protest (since those don’t happen all the time) to make your voice heard. It can be as simple as wearing a shirt to class or engaging with someone online or even talking to your friends about your thoughts on important issues. Movements start with the people, and they start small, and the true movement occurs when it begins with you.
What I found most beautiful about this march was its widespread influence. The Women’s March not only touched every corner of this country but also found itself overseas in places like Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town, Nairobi, Athens, Tokyo, just to name a few. Although, sadly, this speaks volumes about the absence of rights around the globe, it also speaks to the millions of people who are doing something about it.
This is not to shame those who were unable to make it but rather to influence those wanting to make their voice heard. There will come a time, or perhaps it’s already happened, when you will feel passionately enough about an event or topic that you’ll want to do something about it. Perhaps it’ll be something as large and complex as social justice or perhaps something simpler like classroom or cyber bullying. Either way, this is your push to do whatever it takes do something about it. Participate in a march, sign a petition, or stand up for that person; stand up for what you believe in. Too often we go through life seeing an issue and leaving it for someone else, thinking “someone else can take of it” or “it’s not my business.” But could you imagine if everyone thought this way? Could you imagine if all the civil rights activists and suffragettes and LGBT activists had thought the same way? We’d never question the status quo- we’d never bring about any kind of change.