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Follow in her Footsteps: Women March on a Global Scale

Elena Lev, Staff Writer

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On Saturday, January 21st, 2017, protesters united on a worldwide level in support of the Women’s March on Washington. The Women’s March was named after the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which originated as a call for civil and economic rights for African Americans. Saturday’s marches and protests took place at different times around the globe, and resulted in the largest collective single-day movement in history, with an estimated 4 million people—of all genders, not just women—having marched.

There were a variety of incentives for the marchers, and although the result seemed to be a general anti-Donald Trump protest, the organizers originally claimed the intention of the march to be to galvanize people to fight for the betterment of women’s rights in the United States as well as improving life quality and equality for all marginalized groups. The message of many of the marches turned into a protest against the nomination and inauguration of Donald J. Trump as the 45th president of the United States and the discrimination and hatred that accompanied it.

Although a common belief among those who didn’t support the protest was that it wrongly upset the democratic process, the reality seems more nuanced. Said Mikaiya Gude, a junior at Analy High, “I marched on Saturday because I believe our president is not the symbol of America, the people are.” She believes that it is a citizen’s duty to speak out and protest when his or her voice is not being heard.

Many of those marching were advocating for causes they support, like Planned Parenthood or protection of the Affordable Care Act, while some were just marching for solidarity, hoping to feel united toward a goal of more love and acceptance in the world. The desired effect of the march seemed achieved for Alana Cree, also a junior at Analy: “After marching and seeing thousands rally for freedom and equality, I felt much better about the current state of our nation,” she claimed. “It was incredible to see women, men, and children united for the same cause.”

The rallies and marches took place at 673 locations around the world and had a broad range of people in attendance, from one million marchers in Washington, D.C., to a single protester in West Lima, Wisconsin. Marches took place in liberal hotspots like San Francisco and New York, and in more controversial places like Barrow, Arkansas and Saxapahaw, North Carolina. Outside of the United States, locations included Paris, Oaxaca, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Moscow, and many more.

Parker Dangers Oncken, a JC student and activist, came away from the Santa Rosa Women’s March with hope for the future of the United States. Although he is saddened by the election and its messages, rooted in what he believes is a cultural sense of greed and a lack of compassion, he believes the key to change lies in all of us. Parker is an active proponent of “Do[ing] something each day to make someone smile.” The key to coming together, he believes, is compassion, and compassion is found in everyday interactions of kindness and love. As tensions heighten in our divided nation, that mentality seems to be one from which we can all learn.

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Follow in her Footsteps: Women March on a Global Scale