By Dalton Salisbury
A sea of pink hats flooded the streets of major cities throughout the United States last month as millions marched in response to the inauguration of President Trump. Most participants saw the marches as an opportunity to express their dissatisfaction with the American political system and have their voices heard. The Women’s March created a sense of unity among participants, and many LREI students took part in the powerful experience.
“I’ve never been to a protest that was taken that seriously,” said junior Talia Rosenthal, who attended the D.C. march. “I really felt like there was a real sense of solidarity among these women because it was such a time of distress.” Over half a million people from all corners of the country and the world marched in D.C. to oppose the President’s “sexist and hateful views and actions” and stand up for oppressed parties. Like much of America, these women feared for the future of their country. “I wanted to be with people from all over the country, and I knew that that’s what would be happening there,” said Rosenthal.
In addition to the huge turnout in Washington, there were many impressively sized protests in other major cities, including New York. Like many students at LREI, junior Sophia Stewart-Chapman attended the march in midtown Manhattan. “It was a lot of different people. It wasn’t necessarily one specific group but I think probably the majority were white women,” said Stewart-Chapman, pointing out the lack of representation of minority groups that seemed prevalent throughout the marches. “We tried a Black Lives Matter chant and nobody else would join in with us. When we tried a different chant, ‘love trumps hate,’ everyone else did it.” She also expressed concern that many protesters participated simply due to the popularity of the movement.
The protests drew a heavy response from Trump supporters, many of whom expressed their dissatisfaction with the issues that protesters were fighting. However, most protesters did not let this intimidate them. “There were a few Trump supporters who came out to protest the protest with signs that condemned gay marriage, feminism, and equality as a whole, and we just laughed them off because here they are against hundreds of thousands of people, you know?” said junior Maya Gavant. “We weren’t going to let them affect the March or what it represented. It’s reassuring to know that despite the divide in our country right now, people from all over know what this president and his administration will mean for all the people Trump has targeted.” No matter the different experiences all three women had protesting, one thing remained clear: the protests must continue. As Stewart-Chapman said, “It’s important for people to actually be committed to activism and that means other things, not just that march.”