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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Why I march

Madison Cassel ’20, Anna Lendacky ’20, Jessica Sgroi ’20, and Grace Schillinger ’20 take part in the Women’s March on Philadelphia (Photo by Sam Henry ’19)
Erin Davison ’19 shows off her Women’s March shirt (Photo by Sam Henry ’19).

Hope and the possibility of solidarity

It was an overcast, bitter cold day, seemingly similar to others in January, but with one essential difference. Thousands of people were gathered on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in protest of the newly-inaugurated president, Donald J. Trump, a man who openly brags about how his celebrity status allows him to sexually harass women, going so far as to have said, “And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy.” I don’t know about you, but that sounds like sexual assault.

The people those “pussies” belong to are pissed. We’re angry and Jan. 21 was only the first step in the protest of the highly unqualified men who now hold some of our nation’s highest offices. Marching down the Parkway, I saw signs proclaiming anti-Trump statements, such as, “Groper in Chief: Keep your tiny hands off my pussy”, alongside less vitriolic pro-women statements like “Viva la Vulva”. There was a rainbow of protest signs, each proclaiming their own important messages, but the uniting factor was that everyone marching was doing so out of fear for our rights and defiance of our current elected officials.

We are being terrorized by a former reality television show host with no prior political experience, one who believes only in the rights of wealthy white men and wants to deport groups of people solely based on their race or religion. Immediately after he announced his intent to run for president, Trump unleashed a hate-filled rant against Mexicans, claiming that, “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

While, the new president has only been in office for less than a week, I think it’s fair to say that his actions within his first week in office, which include a freeze on federal hiring, signing an anti-abortion executive order, and having his staff lie to the press, are either right on par with what we expected, or even a bit worse. Trump claims to want to be a president for the people, but does he really know anything about how the majority of the nation lives?

The people I marched with were among the most inspiring and powerful people I’ve ever encountered. Gathered in this march were people of all races, religions, and backgrounds, all there for the same purpose: protecting the rights of those whose existences are being threatened by this new administration.

As a white woman, I know that I am in a far better position than most, but I still stand in solidarity not only with my fellow women, but my fellow human beings as well. The Women’s March was, and is, for everyone. While everyone has their own personal reasons for marching, everyone is also marching for the same reason: to stand alongside those whose rights are threatened. It’s been three and a half months since I watched former Secretary Clinton’s lead in the general election slip away.

It’s been three and a half months since I watched the current president take the stage a few hours after midnight to accept his new position, and in that time, I’ve read too many stories about hatred, racism, sexism, and xenophobia. It still amazes and scares me that people truly believe that man is worthy of our nation’s highest office.

However, it is because of that fear that I marched this weekend, and will continue to do whatever I can to protect everyone’s rights and amplify the voices of those who so desperately need to be heard.

I march for many reasons, but fear is only one of them. I march for my mother, who raised me to be independent, smart, resilient, and inspires me every day.

I march for my grandmothers and great-grandmothers, who worked tirelessly to create a better future for my family.

I march for my ancestors, because I am their dreams realized. I march in honor of the millions of women who came before me, who fought, bled, starved, and died so that I could be here today.

I march for the people whose voices have too often gone unheard. I march in solidarity with my sisters and brothers, whether they be black, Latinx, Asian, Muslim, Jewish, LGBTQIA+, disabled, poor, undocumented, or in any other way oppressed.

I march for the future of the nation that I know can do better.

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