We Were There: DU Students in DC

                                                                                              Holden Fitzgerald and Morgan Carter at the Women's March

              Amongst a sea of red MAGA caps and pink knit beanies, DU had its own representatives in DC during last week’s historic events. Sophomores Skyler BowdenHolden Fitzgerald, and Morgan Carter had bought plane tickets to DC before the outcome of the election. Trump wasn’t who they expected to watch get elected, but they decided to still relish the opportunity of exploring the nation’s capital and participating in the Women’s March. .”Initially, I bought the inauguration tickets because my friend, Holden, said that we should go witness history and watch the first woman president become inaugurated," shared Skyler. "And once I found out about the Women's March on Washington, I knew that the trip out wouldn't be a waste."

              The group was of course expecting to encounter different political views in Washington, but they quickly came to the realization that not everyone went blue in Colorado. On her flight, Morgan sat next to a group of Trump supporters—one of which was the head of the Trump Colorado campaign. “We talked for a long time. It was a good, normal conversation about life and goals and Colorado on the whole. I knew before we started talking that our beliefs differed, but it didn’t really matter. We bonded over our mutual love for Colorado.”

                                                                                                                       View of the inauguration 

              Once they arrived in DC, they met up with former DU student Reid Collins who hosted them at Georgetown.  While they enjoyed the liberal atmosphere in Georgetown, they did notice that the overall atmosphere in DC was a bit tense. “Any overheard conversations were about Trump, Obama, or the Women’s March,” Morgan remarked. “I can’t remember the last time I was in a place where it seemed like absolutely everyone was talking about the same thing.” Holden and Morgan together attended the actual Inauguration. Standing by the Washington Monument, “The crowd was very small. There was a seemingly good mix of both Trump supporters and dissenters there to merely experience the event and passively stay in opposition. [Afterwards], there was not much celebration. No one was incredibly excited on the outside. There was a large line of protestors parading down the street in front of the White House as we exited the inauguration grounds,” Holden shared. Even though there were riots in the streets of Washington, Holden and Morgan rejoined Skyler for a quieter evening at Georgetown with Reid and ate delicious cupcakes from Baked & Wired.

                                                                                                   One of the signs displayed at the Women's March

              The next day; however, was full of excitement. Shortly before ten, the trio arrived to join the thousands of others for the Women’s March on Washington. "It wasn’t simply about hating Trump and his rhetoric of misogyny, bigotry, racism, ableism, and xenophobia," explained Skyler, "It was about celebrating the great diversity of this nation, standing together and saying, 'You can’t move us. You cannot take away our rights. We will not give them to you. You cannot deport us. WE are what make America great and you do not define who we are as a nation.'” They were surrounded by passionate people and some creative signs. Holden’s favorites were "Keep your tiny hands off my rights" and "If I wanted the government in my womb, I'd f*ck a Senator”. But there were some downsides to the March as well. They thought there would be perhaps an hour of speeches, and then they would march. Instead, there were five hours of programming. “People began chanting ‘March, march, march" between each speaker, getting anxious to go and show the President their discontent,” Holden commented. Skyler also came face-to-face at a Starbucks with those she violently disagrees with. "They were talking about how 'real' he was...they appreicated his candor which, for me, is the saddest, most ironic and ill-informed argument I have heard. They even started discussing how no one talked about Bill Clinton's twelve alleged rapes. I wanted to chime in and state, 'That's exactly why we're marching. Hillary Clinton is her own woman and should not be helod accountable for her husbands actions.'" Skyler did however, find solidarity in another young woman listening in on the conversation, a moment she won't soon forget. 

           Through its ups and downs, it still was an incredible experience. “There was this adorable little girl, Sophia was her name I think, and she spoke to all of us, telling both adults and children to have hope and not be afraid. Then she said it again in Spanish. The whole crowd, a million people, then started chanting her name. It was like something out of a movie and I was really moved," reminisced Morgan. It was a great avenue to give a voice to many in America who now feel voiceless," Holden said, "It was incredibly empowering and psuhed women and others to take an active role in the political system and claim the country for themselves." 

          Now, back in Denver, Skyler, Holden, Morgan and every other DU student faces a continued challenge. “The March was a mind-blowing display of solidarity,” Morgan commented. “The next step is involvement.” 

                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                     A powerful moment