On January 21st, I marched on Washington D.C. alongside hundreds of thousands of people of varying genders, shapes, races, and identities in order to promote equality. We were not only protesting Trump but also advocating for human rights. Millions of people across the world came together to spread a message of love rather than hate.
A stigma against feminism exists that I do not understand. Some deem feminists as absurd, while others think their cause is unnecessary. But feminism is simply the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of equality of the sexes. Isn’t it logical for all people to get the same rights? Isn’t a feminist anyone who believes in equality for men and women, regardless of their own gender? To the people that criticize feminism, I ask, “Why?” Isn’t it important to question normalcy in order to challenge injustice and progress as a society?
Feminism did not stop when women got the right to vote. Feminism should not stop until every human being has equality. Every person should be proportionately represented in their government, the workforce, and the media. Everyone should have autonomy over of their futures as well as their bodies. So, it seems quite appropriate that men, women, the LGBTQ+ community, and the people at large came together, 97 years after Susan B. Anthony marched in Washington, for the suffrage movement. We marched the same path to demonstrate the hard work of our ancestors and the hard work that is yet to come.
As I marched in Washington D.C., I felt a sense of pride in our country that I had not experienced before. Seeing such an overwhelmingly large number of people coming together with such a powerful message stirred my patriotism. My previous studies of U.S. history had saddened me, as I had learned of systematic and bureaucratic oppression and intolerance, but, at the march, I felt that we were finally acknowledging America’s injustices and coming together to positively impact the future.
Both domestically and globally, human rights remain vulnerable. We have to recognize the rising number of people who do not have access to healthcare and experience abuse and oppression, including victims of human trafficking. I want to live in a world where people are embraced and celebrated for their differences, not persecuted. I fear that the Trump administration will diminish, rather than protect, that diversity.
So, as I listened intently to many amazing speeches, I was inspired by their passion. The speakers and the demonstrators illuminated the importance of a new movement. The prospect of a new era brought hope to me, as I had begun to weep over our country’s choices. It was reassuring to know that I was not alone and my ideals were shared. It was reaffirming that I could remain an activist, even if I am too young to vote. So many rights were addressed and celebrated, from immigrants’ to women’s to Middle Eastern, African American, Mexican, Latino, and Palestinian, as well as the LGBTQ+ community. It was refreshing and enthralling to see all the support and positivity from millions of demonstrators. That day showed me that all the little voices become something powerful when they are united.
Many Radnor High School students marched as well, demonstrating the importance of our first amendment and equality for all:
Shana Clapp explained, “Having never been to a political protest or march before, I had no idea what I was walking into. However, when I stepped off the bus, I was greeted by an endless sea of pink hats. Tee shirts flaunting the phrases “nasty woman” and “feminist” were on women and men alike. Street vendors sold BLM gear and “Obama air freshener.” My personal favorite was the man yelling: “I have shirts in every size and color- just like all of you!” Feminist icons from Ashley Judd to Gloria Steinem encouraged the crowd with the same underlying message: We’re not going anywhere. The posters ranged from witty to edgy, yet the overall tone of the day seemed to be one of positivity. The message of equality and acceptance was louder than the lingering anti-Trump sentiment. For those Americans feeling trapped under the weight of the recent election, the march was cathartic.
The question now is what happens next. Although it was an incredible feat, the march retains no credibility if it is not followed by more action. Countless groups are mobilizing to encourage people to keep adding their voice in favor of the American values of liberty and justice for all. The Women’s March on Washington, and all sister marches around the world, served as a much needed reminder that despite who our president is, these values remain steadfast.”
Wil Cosgrove said, “Last week, I went to Philadelphia to march. Later that night, I went out to dinner with my grandparents. My grandfather, a very republican person, asked me why I marched. I tried to answer him, thinking that it would come right out… it didn’t. That made me ask myself why I actually went, or why anyone went for that matter. Was it to get attention for the cause, or just to express their anger for Trump? In a way, it was both. I can’t speak for everyone, but the reason I went was to make sure Trump knew not to mess with us, so that he’d still keep all our opinions in mind when he makes a decision that will affect the future of our country. For instance, he has expressed time and time again that he is going to be a pro-life president. Despite the years and years of hard work and fighting has gone into protecting women’s rights to get an abortion. We beg him not to take that right away. The LGBT community’s rights are also important. Trump is very religious, which don’t get me wrong, isn’t a bad thing. It is, however, a bad thing when you use religion to govern someone else. If the majority of people want something to happen and Trump signs an executive decision disagreeing because of his Christian values, then religion has become a problem.
Additionally, it is important to recognize immigrants. One of my best friends came from the Middle East. He lived in many different countries before settling in here. His life before the US wasn’t so great. He didn’t have many friends nor was he able to establish a routine because he was always moving. In fact, he never even went to school. When he came here, everything changed. He became a good person, got a good education, and had a healthy life. There are so many other people like him out there. I can’t just stand back and do nothing while Trump closes off the US to help people in worse conditions than my friend was. The least I can do is protest.
So why did I march? I marched to protect the rights of all the people living here, and abroad, who should be granted the God given right to a good life.”
Antonia Moffa exclaimed, “Waking up at 5:45 in the morning on the last Saturday before midterms wasn’t something I would’ve done under normal circumstances, but the election of a bigoted pig to be the leader of the “free world” is anything but normal.
About 100 women (and a few men) from Radnor did just this to board two buses on a cold, dreary January morning to make it to Washington, D.C. for the Women’s March on Washington. I was one of them. While waiting for the buses to arrive, mingling among the fairly substantial group, I realized that I was with some of the most passionate and justice-driven people I had ever been around in my life. That feeling continued to grow as we shot down the highway as fast as we could, passing numerous rest stops filled with buses as far as the eye could see, all heading in the same direction as us.
When we finally hit the streets of DC, we were joined by hundreds of thousands of people, all with the same goals as us: to show the Trump administration that we are all still here, watching. Resisting. While marching through the city, we encountered an incredibly diverse group of people of all races, ages, national origins, and socioeconomic statuses. We heard all languages and saw a variety of signs, displaying messages that were witty, serious, and just downright funny (my favorite was an incredibly detailed painting of Trump and Putin kissing). My awe of the experience came to a head when we finally made it to the Capitol Building. After the group stopped for a few minutes to capture some photos, I looked around and saw people coming from all directions, toting signs and chanting powerful messages. People from every walk of life, uniting in this common cause. I realized that not all hope was lost, and that there are still good people left in this world, despite the constant gloom that characterized Trump’s presence.
I hope that demonstrations like these, peaceful and positive, continue to occur. I hope they follow Trump all over the United States and throughout the next four years, reminding him that love is what will make America great, not hate.”
Grace Wiedmann commented, “The women’s march on Philadelphia was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had. There were people of all ages and genders that filled onto the trains into center city. Everyone was so friendly and excited to see so many like minded people. The streets were flooded with pink pussy hats and posters preaching equality.
Once the March had ended and everyone was gathered on the steps of the museum, a series of speakers came onto the stage. They talked about why civil rights movements are so important. Even if Trump isn’t listening to the outcries of the citizens he now governs, we will not stop fighting. It has to start somewhere, and it’s important that it didn’t end when the women’s march ended. In order to be heard and make a difference we have to keep fighting. But our feminism cannot be exclusive. Trans sisters, disabled sisters, women of color, everyone must be included in order for it to be true feminism.”
“The president is not America. His cabinet is not America. Congress is not America. We are America. And we are here to stay. We will not go from being a nation of immigrants to a nation of ignorance.” -America Ferrera
“We recognize that we are collective agents of history and that history cannot be deleted like web pages.” -Angela Davis
“President Trump, I did not vote for you. That said, I respect that you are our president-elect and I want to be able to support you. But first I ask that you support me, support my sister, support my mother, support my best friend and all of our girlfriends, support the men and women here today who are anxiously awaiting to see how your next moves may drastically affect their lives.” -Scarlett Johansson
“We are linked, we are not ranked, and this is a day that will change us forever because we are together, each of us individually and collectively will never be the same again. When we elect a possible president, we too often go home. We’ve elected an impossible president. We’re never going home. We’re staying together, and we’re taking over.” -Gloria Steinem
“Human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights.” -Hillary Clinton