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Women’s March On Washington

As I sit on the bus after a long, tiresome, foot achey day of walking our nation’s Capitol on January 21st, 2017 as part of the Women’s March on Washington, I am left speechless by the experience. It has begun to sink in that on this day, I, along with the hundreds of thousands of other people who traveled to Washington D.C., have made history. These moments will be remembered in history books and in museums for generations to come.

            Pink pussy hatted demonstrators flooded the streets all making their way toward the location of the rally. There was a sense of community and solidarity as together we traveled from our buses to the rally where we were slated to enjoy speakers such as The Mothers of the Movement, Gloria Steinem, Cecile Richards, Angela Davis, and Ashley Judd. I was impressed by the effort which was clearly put forth to have a highly inclusive, diverse, and intersectional line-up of speakers. Represented among the speakers and issues touched upon were immigrants, rape survivors, people of color and Muslims, among a vast number of others. However, as the speakers and performances rolled into their third hour, the crowd around us began to grow restless jostling each other and beginning to chant their desire to start marching.

            “March! March! March!” shouted the crowd, as I strained to hear the speakers, my frustration building. The crowd was made up predominantly of white, middle-aged women. As the speakers were drowned out, the irony of the situation struck me. These attendees were obscuring the voices of women who belong to groups that are rarely given a stage from which to speak and present themselves to a crowd of the size. Despite that the purpose of The March was to show solidarity with these very groups, they were being shouted down. This unrest caused the crowd to begin moving away from the rally before the last speakers were done with their speeches.            

             The crowd flooded into the streets, taking over several in addition to those for which the organizers had secured a permit. I was with several thousand people all walking down Pennsylvania toward Trump International Hotel and the White House. We were cheered on by those standing along the sidewalk; one person even climbed a streetlamp and began to lead us in cheers. As the mass of people shuffled along I felt empowered by our chants of unity and solidarity. Emotions swept through the crowd and united people of every age and experience bringing us all together in solidarity. As we marched, one voice would ring out “Show me what democracy looks like!” and the crowd would energetically shout back “This is what democracy looks like!” Or, as one, we would all chant “Black Lives Matter!” or “Trans Lives Matter!”. Though we were all united and moving as one down Pennsylvania Avenue, it became apparent when one individual attempted to start the chant “All Lives Matter”, that we were each on our own path of understanding and enlightenment. This chant was quickly shut down by an exclamation from a crowd member of “All lives will matter when black lives matter, when trans lives matter!”

            Upon reaching Trump International Hotel, the crowd came to a near standstill screaming their disapproval in the form of boos and the repetition of the word “Shame”, whilst pointing at the huge, ornate structure. The distaste for President Trump harbored within the crowd was most evident at this point, as the crowd chanted specifically “anti-Trump” chants, such as “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Donald Trump has got to go!”

            As I sit in the dark warmth of the bus on this seventeen hour ride back to Tampa, I can only be grateful for the experience of traveling to Washington D.C. to demonstrate and March with many other impassioned individuals from around the country. Each person made the decision to attend The March for a unique reason, but they all have something in common: we each know that we must move forward as a nation, and in order to do so, we must choose to love and accept each individual, and not harbor hatred or contempt, as our new President seems to encourage. 

I am a sociology and political science student at the Universoty of South Florida.
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