Women’s March: Take Two!

Women’s March: Take Two!

Margaret Michalak, Staff Writer

Exactly one year after the last Women’s March took place, women around the country flooded the streets once more as they marched towards justice. Last year, millions of people came out in a protest of President Donald Trump’s inauguration, and this year, an onslaught of stories about powerful men abusing women—leading to the #MeToo movement—has pushed activists to fight for more rooted social and political change. Last year’s march was more impassioned, almost angry for some, but this year, many felt that they were fighters for the long haul now and that this was the spark to light the match of the equal rights revolution.

A 32 year old nurse—and first time marcher for this particular cause—said, “I feel like the revolution is now,” and her 11 year old daughter chimed in, saying she wants “equal pay and equal rights.” Hundreds of thousands of people marched in major cities such as Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, and Washington D.C. Activists including America Ferrera, Gloria Steinem and Malcolm X’s daughter, Ilyasah Shabazz, were marching and giving speeches.

Ashley Bennett, a Democrat from Egg Harbor Township, N.J., unseated a longtime local Republican politician in her first campaign for office last November. She ran for Atlantic County freeholder against John L. Carman after he posted a meme on Facebook during last year’s march asking, “Will the women’s protest be over in time for them to cook dinner?” Ms. Bennett told the crowd at Saturday’s march in New York that she was scared to run at first, and that she asked herself, “Am I the right person? Can I really do this? But then I realized that if you wait until you feel ready, you may never take action.” Women have been urged to run for office and to stand up to the powerful men controlling their companies and offices. In Washington, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat of California, took the stage with other legislators who arrived from the Capitol. She praised the women who have already launched campaigns. “They marched, and now they have run for office, and some of them have already won their office,” she said. “We want women to know their power in so many respects.”

Despite the turmoil that seemed to be happening in the White House Friday, the powerful women and men planning on marching remained unphased. Instead the government shutdown became a rallying cry. The federal government shutdown that took effect early Saturday did not dissuade marchers from taking to the streets. One of the main points that led to the shutdown—disagreement over extending legal status to immigrants brought into the country illegally as children—has become a rallying cry for organizers. Linda Sarsour tweeted: “New chant for this weekend’s @womensmarch’s. ‘Whose shutdown? #TrumpShutDown.’ Say it LOUD. Say it CLEAR. #CallAndResponse #PowerToThePolls.” There was support for women in other corners of the world, including a gathering in Rome, Italy, Frankfurt, Germany, Kampala, Uganda, and Osaka, Japan, where a small group chanted “Time’s up!” in English and Japanese.