Nearly five million people across the globe took to the streets in the Women’s March on Washington (WMW) held Jan. 21, making it one of the largest one-day protests in United States history.
According to WMW organizers, the WMW began Nov.9, the day after the election, after Teresa Shook, a grandmother residing in Hawaii, proposed a call to action to forty of her friends to march in Washington, D.C. Her friends invited their friends, and by the time the idea hit the Facebook group, Pantsuit Nation, there were a number of women administering pages generating thousands of sign-ups by the hour.
But the event spans beyond Washington D.C. and the United States, people in hundreds of cities on every continent, including Antarctica, came together in solidarity with the Women’s March.
The mission statement of the Women’s March on Washington states, “The rhetoric of the past election cycle has insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us – immigrants of all statuses, Muslims and those of diverse religious faiths, people who identify as LGBTQIA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer, Intersex, Asexual), Native people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, survivors of sexual assault – and our communities are hurting and scared. We are confronted with the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear. 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. The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.”
Over 500,000 made the journey to the flagship march in Washington D.C., over 750,000 marched in Los Angeles, California and roughly 250,000 organized in Chicago. Despite the large crowds of people, it is reported that no arrests were made in association with the march.
Students from Shawnee State University (SSU) and staff from the SSU student newspaper, The Chronicle, attended the Washington D.C. March.
The Chronicle’s editor Mikhail Smith, stated, “The March, to me, was about so much more than simply marching for my rights. The Women’s March was about so much more than women’s rights, it was about being inclusive and accepting of everyone. The March was about being inclusive of all identities under the umbrella of women’s rights,” Smith said. “It’s difficult to be accepted as a female editor, let alone as a female from Appalachia. The challenges from everyday life are there, even if they aren’t seen by everyone. Trust me, if you’ve ever felt the need to carry your car keys in your fist after dark, you’ve experienced what I’m talking about. The right to be safe, the right to speak out, the right to be yourself.”
Big cities weren’t the only places that held demonstrations, Chillicothe hosted a Women’s March, with roughly 1,200 in attendance. Citizens from across the Tri-state ventured to the Ross County courthouse, where they made the march to nearby Yoctangee Park.
“Attending the Women’s March/Sister March was a awesome opportunity to walk in solidarity with people of every description, women, men, teens, children, and babies. I was so proud to see my daughter and her friends standing up for their Civil Rights and fighting for issues that never entered my mind when I was their age,” said Cindi Cornwell Hammons. Hammons is just one of many citizens from Scioto County who attended the Women’s March hosted in Chillicothe. “It’s a different world now where we must be constantly on guard and watchful as our rights are slowly being chipped away by those is power. Attending the march showed our elected officials that we are watching, that we are aware and that we vote.”
But the Women’s March, wasn’t just for women, many men attended the event also advocating for the cause.
“I think it’s important to stand in solidarity with those who don’t share the same privilege I do. In recognizing other people have it more difficult than me and that I can’t necessarily generalize my experience to others, it’s important to fight alongside those who still need to fight,” said Scioto County citizen, Jacob Harris.
Harris also attended the march held in Chillicothe.
Harris continued, “Feminism at its core is that men and women are equal. This equality extends much further than basic rights such as voting, and concerns a multitude of inequalities that may not be superficially apparent. Free/affordable healthcare and childcare are not available to a multitude of lower class women across the country, both of which affect the ability for women to gain steady employment. This exemplifies the notion of privilege in that, while some women are lucky enough to not share these experiences, that cannot be generalized to the whole. We march in protest for those women who can’t march for themselves.”
The movement hopes to continue the momentum, with their new ‘10 actions, 100 days,’ campaign, which focuses on a new issue every 10 days.
According to their website the first action says, “Write a postcard to your Senators about what matters most to you – and how you’re going to continue to fight for it in the days, weeks and months ahead.”
The site offers printable postcards and assists users in finding out who their Senators are. The site is also using the hastag #WhyIMarch to voice participation.
For more information, please visit www.womensmarch.com/100
Reach Ciara Conley at 740-981-6977, Facebook “Ciara Conley - Daily Times,” and Twitter @PDT_Ciara.