By Rachel Lau
Over one million people protested on Saturday, Jan. 21st, for the Women’s March movement.
Rebecca Shook, a Hawaiian retiree, started the notion of a march when she posted a status shortly after Donald Trump was elected as president. In the post, she ranted about having a women’s march as backlash towards the new president.
That was when she created a Facebook page that caught the attention of a group called ‘Pantsuit Nation’ that expanded the message even more. Four female activists decided to take over, which led to more men and women wanting to join the peaceful protest.
The march was not only about women’s rights but social justice issues overall. The money they raised was given towards funding for Planned Parenthood.
English teacher Dr. Cari Ayala joined the activists in Washington DC. After hearing about it on NPR, she knew immediately she wanted to participate.
“It was overwhelming because there were massive crowds,” Dr. Ayala said.
It’s estimated that more than 500,000 people participated in the DC Women’s March.
“There was extremely positive energy,” Dr. Ayala said. “There was kindness toward the protestors, police, and DC staff that helped direct traffic and keep everyone together.”
She attended the action with some of her family members including her husband who is apparently “more of a feminist than I” Mr. Jasiel Ayala, Dr. Ayala’s spouse, is a Spanish veteran who understands the oppressions immigrants and minorities are dealing with and doesn’t like the direction the country is going in either. Dr. Ayala said her bus leader, along with all other leaders for the event, informed her and the others involved in the movement that the march was only the beginning. Those in charge of the operation wanted to bring more attention to the situation and continue planning different things in order to do so.
“I’m proud of my family and myself,” she said about her involvement in the movement. “The protests bring attention to an important cause.”
She said there were signs everywhere that said things such as Black Lives Matter, Love, and different Martin Luther King Jr. quotes. Groups were shouting “Women’s rights are human rights,” and “What does a democracy look like? A democracy looks like this.”
Senior Jackie Golden also joined one of the smaller movements that took place in Lancaster county.
“It was positive, and it wasn’t a Donald Trump protest. It felt like I wasn’t alone in my beliefs.”
Golden believes that there were around 150-200 people attending this march. There were signs, speakers, musicians, race and gender equality supporters, and clean air/water activists.
“The protests were giving Donald Trump a chance to see that the policy changes were not welcomed,” Golden said. “I’m really glad I went, it brought tears to my eyes and I was so glad to be in that environment.”
Senior Evan Harrell has been a Trump supporter but did not see anything wrong with the protests.
“I think it is a good cause and they should keep striving for what they want, but they shouldn’t worry about their rights being taken away,” Harrell said. “I like the peaceful protests, but I lose respect for those that riot over it.”
“In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore,” stated on the Women’s March website.
The big question that many have been asking those in charge of the Women’s March organization is “what’s next?” The leaders say they are planning more protests and events but as of right now it’s a wait-and-see situation.