The Women’s March on Washington: Proud Participant and Observer
I didn’t think I would ever experience something as huge and exciting as I did this past Saturday at the Women’s March on Washington. I have never seen so many people in one place at one time who were standing up for the same reason, which in this case was equality. Though everyone came with passion for different issues— whether it be reproductive rights, LGBT equality or the Black Lives Matter movement—we were all there uniting because we feel that changes need to happen. We needed to express our opinions and let our voices be heard. We needed to make President Donald Trump, and those in political office, see that we will not stand for hatred and mistreatment. We do not want to go backwards in history, having our rights taken away. We want to keep moving forward, and the only way to do that is to act upon our beliefs.
Since the march, I have read a few articles and spoke to a few people who expressed different views about the reason it was being held. I have seen people questioning signs that many women held up in protest —such as a photo of a vagina indicting reproductive healthcare protection—saying that these types of signs were not inclusive of transgender people. I have read articles that described how the march was just a reflection of white privilege, because the majority of the people marching were white women. These articles explained that white privilege is the reason no arrests occurred on Saturday. While many of these arguments as to why the march was controversial seem valid, from the perspective of a person who experienced it first-hand, I disagree that it was not inclusive of all people -- no matter their background. The Women’s March on Washington was meant to be a unifying demonstration that aimed to have many voices be heard and taken into account.
Yes, I am a white woman who does not believe that white women are being treated equally, nor have ever been treated equally in the United States of America. This does not mean that I do not believe women of color, who come from different backgrounds, are not more oppressed than I am. Since Trump has been in office, he has signed many bills into law that have restricted the rights of various minority groups. He has taken measures to deplete the Affordable Care Act, has signed Executive Orders to build a wall bordering Mexico, has taken steps toward defunding Planned Parenthood and more. These are all the reasons over five million people around the globe came together on Saturday — these are all the reasons why we march — in order to fight for our moral integrity and to protect our own and our friend’s lives.
I saw people of diverse ethnicities, genders, appearance, age and more at the march. What I saw were passionate people. People who will not sit back in the face of injustice and people who believe that everyone should be treated with understanding and respect as far as circumstances and behavior allow. I believe no arrests took place that day because the people who believe in these causes are generally empathetic and moral people, and though empathetic and moral people get arrested every day, the mere amount of us did not allow for anyone to be singled out and arrested. I felt that what we did by marching down Pennsylvania Avenue was speak up for ourselves and for those who choose not to. I felt a sense of security knowing that the people there would be accepting of me. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to march. It allowed me to open my mind to perspectives I didn’t consider as much before, and to see that we need to stand up for injustices. I will not stop resisting. I will not stop marching until every person feels safe in this country. I will not stop marching until everyone is equal.