This is an important time in history and I don’t for a second take that for granted. Neither do all of the people that write on this site. Several of us were out marching across the country and I asked them each to write about why they marched.
Read our stories below.
Erin: I believe that your politics are your politics and I am not here for an argument. I believe strongly in my opinions as others believe in theirs. But – why I marched? I marched because I am a survivor. I marched because I believe that women should be heard. I marched because I don’t want my nieces to go through what women have so far. I don’t want people to loose their rights. I want people to be seen as equals. I marched because of the ACA and loosing it – the millions of people that will not have insurance. I marched because I can’t for the life of me understand how we got to the point that we are at. I can’t for the life of me understand how Donald Trump was elected. I marched because Planned Parenthood has been essential to my life.
I was lucky that two of my male friends were out there with me – chanting, walking, supporting. They won’t give up and either will I. This year I will become more informed and this year I will become more active in politics. This is an important time.
I won’t give up.
Lauren: January 21st, 2017 started on a train from Chappaqua to Grand Central with my friend Hannah, her mom, and sister. The train was packed full of pink hats and women carrying signs for the protest. The one hour train ride into Grand Central was full of feminist conversation and talk about the inauguration the day before. It wasn’t until we got into the tunnels that we found out our train was being manned by an all-female crew and that in solidarity with, what they estimated was 1,000 marchers on the train, they didn’t take our tickets, plus they got us into the station five minutes early.
After quickly getting our barrings from a police officer we headed towards 1 Dag Hammarskjold Plaza. It was already packed with people. What I really loved was the clever artistry that went into people’s signs for the march. One said: “The Fempire Strikes Back,” another “We Are the Granddaughters of the Witches You Couldn’t Burn,” and another “I Knit + Kickass + And I’m Out Of Yarn.”
When I asked myself “Why I March?” the night before, I thought about the last several weeks and my many thoughts over the course of the presidential campaign. The two categories you can put my litany of grievances into were women’s rights and health care. I was equally concerned about my ability to get health insurance as a woman and cancer survivor (21 years cancer free), and ability to obtain birth control, go on maternity leave should I have a child, and raise that child to be a healthy productive adult.
So, when I tried to think about these issues I ended up with a sign that said: “Why are you so obsessed with my uterus?” It had a uterus on the bottom that said: “Shed Walls, Don’t Build Them.” Sure, the second line got me a few confused looks, but anyone who understands biology knew what I was getting at.
Hannah and I usually go to Manhattan and walk roughly the equivalent of the March route in about ninety minutes or less, but this took us five. Along the way, we thanked the police officers, we started a few chants, and smiled at a few signs. We came away from the march feeling a spirit of kinship and solidarity, and I felt an energy that left me ready to make my voice heard.
Liz: While walking by a group of women on the way to the march, one of them said they were doing it because it was on their bucketlist. That might be true for some women, but I think it’s much more than that. There’s something inspiring and empowering about walking with hundreds and thousands of women all for the same purpose. Especially ESPECIALLY seeing young, teenage girls leading the chants and holding up signs, walking hand in hand with their besties. Girl power is a real thing and everyone who doesn’t believe it exists should be TERRIFIED of it.
Basically, I’m marching not because I’m a “sore loser” I’m marching for equality for all women of all races, religions and economic class. I’m marching for respect and love. ?
Chloe: I was inspired to attend the Women’s March in Los Angeles after my office hosted a poster-making party the day prior. Hearing how many of my coworkers – strong, empowering women (and men!) I admire – planned to march and why pushed me past my indecision to attend. I don’t consider myself to be a very political person, and I had never attended any kind of protest before, but I’m so glad that I went. The hateful discourse and misinformation leading up to the election – which has of course continued since then – has been disheartening and just plain scary. Being part of a crowd estimated 750,000 strong in downtown LA, surrounded by women, men, kids, grandparents, and at one point Jane Fonda and some of the How to Get Away with Murder cast… it was such a powerful, positive, and impactful atmosphere, like I’ve never experienced elsewhere. The overwhelming feeling was that the marchers were choosing hope over despair, and that they’re ready to put their actions behind their beliefs to make that hope a reality. I marched to stand in solidarity with my fellow women, to show that love trumps hate, and to push past the post-election despair for something I can be proud to be a part of. I want to dedicate time this year to becoming more informed and more active in politics and especially my local community, and the Women’s March made the need for me to do so more pressing than ever. #VagilantesUnite
Beata: I marched in my hometown of Ottawa, Canada. It was simultaneously a show of solidarity with our American neighbors and a message that Trump and his policies are not welcome here (because as the capital city we know he’ll have to come visit soon, and we sure as hell won’t welcome him like we did Obama). I didn’t know how many people would show up, but the crowd ended up being one of the biggest I’ve ever seen in Ottawa. Cars honked at us as we passed. People waved at us from their windows. I met up with so many friends, and learned later on that lots more of them had been there even if I hadn’t seen them. I also saw Olympic speed skater Clara Hughes, which was pretty cool.
It was so uplifting to see so many different people come together to protest everything Trump stands for. There were people speaking out about climate change, Black Lives Matter, Indigenous rights, LGBTQIA+ rights and, obviously, women’s rights. I had been a bit worried that it would be a display of white, cishet feminism but instead I saw thousands of people standing up for intersectionality and that gave me so much hope for the future of my country. I know that that wasn’t necessarily the case in every city, and that I’m not exactly the right person to judge how inclusive mine was, but the number of ”if it’s not intersectional, it’s not feminism” signs made me so happy. It was a wonderful day for women, and for anyone who feels threatened by the rise of the alt-right.
Shelby: While I couldn’t make it to one of the bigger marches, I could make it to a rally of solidarity closer to home. It centered around moving forward in unity with our brothers and sisters of all races, genders, sexual orientations, religious beliefs, and beyond. As soon as I got there I was overly emotional. Looking around and seeing so many beautiful people standing shoulder to shoulder fighting for what’s right brought the happiest tears to my eyes. I marched, or rallied in my case, to show that I am here. I am willing to stand up for the rights of myself and other women. I am willing to fight the hatred and bigotry and act alongside game changers to create real change. I rallied because women’s rights are human rights. I rallied for the equality and acceptance of all human beings. My heart was so full of love and light when my head hit my pillow last night.
We can and we will.