Women’s March

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Women’s March

Keyana Wilson, Quill Co-Editor

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It seems as though we’re entering a new era in this country. A time entwined with calls for change and demands for acceptance.
The past few years has seen some of the largest gatherings and protests in American history. The latest being, the Women’s March on January 21. The Women’s March demonstrated the power of unification when millions of grandmothers, mothers, daughters, neighbors, nieces, and best friends around the world came together to stand as one voice.
The march was, more or less, a modern rejuvenation of the women’s suffrage parade in 1913 after the inauguration of Woodrow Wilson. Feeling “sad and dumbfounded” after the election of Trump, Teresa Shook, made a simple Facebook invite to ease her outrage and awoke the next morning to thousands of RSVPs.
Further emphasizing the beauty of social media, other equally disheartened Facebook members proposed their own protests and petitions and ultimately all worked together to consolidate their individual events into one march. Eventually to be known as the Women’s March on Washington.
One co-voice of the march, Bob Bland, also took to Facebook a couple days after the election, “I think we should build a coalition of ALL marginalized allies + do this. We will need folks from every state + city to organize their communities locally, who wants to join me?!?” Millions as it turns out. Over 3 million men, women, and children showed out in almost 700 marches spread out across roughly 1000 towns and cities worldwide.
Today we highlight one woman’s experience on being one of millions that took to the streets of their city to stand for something larger than any of us.
“I marched because I’ve had enough of the insensitivity to the struggles of minorities within our nation, along with the non-stop hate mongering that has menaced communities this past election cycle,” Cedar Ridge junior Natalya Bomani said, “The Women’s March was the perfect platform to channel my frustration because I wanted to show our nation’s authoritative figures that my voice will be heard despite the forces of marginalization, and that the forces of hate will not be overlooked. I marched to stand in solidarity with the sisters of this nation that feel as though their rights and existence as being a woman are threatened by the discriminatory narrative that has set foot in the white house. I wanted to shine light upon women’s rights issues that are often disregarded by our nation in taking part in a resistance that recognized our intersecting identities and struggles peacefully. I wanted to exemplify that the lives of women of all backgrounds, abilities, ethnicities, sexualities, and religions matter and therefore deserve to be treated just as equal to their male counterparts. I wanted to bring about awareness among oblivious individuals by pushing a positive narrative that touched on political, social, and economic issues. I wanted to demonstrate to people that there’s more to being a woman than just physicality and that we have the power and strength to combat the inequality of our system. I strongly believe that this march stood to recognize that the vibrant and diverse communities of our nation are in fact the very strength of our country as diversity enables us to change our perspectives on culture and societal norms. Overall, the march stood to overpower the forces of hate and misogyny that drove the very reason for the march.”
Due to its hasty organization, expected march population was modest, but our city paid the last minute notice no mind. Congress Avenue hosted upwards of 50,000 Austinites and the like- tens of thousands more than was expected, “It was incredible and shocking to see videos and bird’s eye images capturing the march and the energy of the crowd of people unapologetically exercising their right to assemble. Seeing and being a part of that massive of a crowd was an unbelievable feeling- knowing that many people were just as driven as I was to make a significant difference in marching.”
The large turnout was made of every age, race, and religion but the youth seemed to dominate the movement as we’re seeing more and more with politics today.
“I would say about 40% of the march consisted of teens and younger children. I was definitely anticipating the youth to show out in large numbers, but the turnout of young people far exceeded my expectations. It was remarkable to see young people showing up and being involved in a movement like this,” Bomani said.
And with such a movement, youth participation is exceedingly important- when your future is being written- it’s best to help write it, “It’s crucial that the youth get involved and educated in politics and activism, as we are the future. We, as a generation that has become more accepting and more willing to speak up against prejudice and the faults of our institutions, have the capacity to bring about change in this society,” Bomani said. “Before we know it, we will be the ones enforcing laws and controlling our systems, so the sooner we stand up and recognize that there are still issues that need to be resolved, prejudice that needs to be diminished, and systems that need to be eradicated, we as youth can take initiative and make change a reality. The voices of young people are just as powerful, if not more powerful, than those of the older generations. Our generation engaging in politics and activism enables us to channelize our talents and ideas by bringing freshness to the roots of old politics.”
The Women’s March, however, beautifully illustrated the power of bonding the vigor of old and young, “People of all ages, cultures, and races linked together as a collective, with grit, practicing love and kindness amongst one another, whilst also bringing about public awareness and potential change in exposing women’s issues around the world. We were able to grasp the attention of those in power in showing them that we will not remain silent. We began the process of opening the doors of respect, appreciation, empathy, and acceptance. We were able to kindle a dialogue that has often been avoided/not discussed in depth by mass media. And maybe most importantly, we inspired people across the world to partake in the movement towards equality.” Bomani said.
Ultimately, “this march stood for something that is crucial to the progression of our nation if we wish to overcome the forces of hate driven by the ignorance that divides us,” Bomani said. “Looking forward, I hope to see those in power take the concerns regarding socio economic/ human rights issues into account while working to accommodate not just women but other marginalized groups. I hope to see a continuation in the resistance as more people stand up to the injustice and speak up on other issues of concern within our nation.”
While I cannot, unfortunately, predict the future, I can say with certainty I sense a revolution. A shift towards equality- impacting the way we act, the way we live, the way we treat each other, and the way our government treats us. The Women’s March and all other equality encompassing protests around the country serve as catalysts to reach that point in time where our generation proves that these states are, in fact, united.

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