The Women’s March not only gave strength to minorities, it sent a message of hope to an anxious world.
For the past week, one historic event has been dominating my social media feeds, news sources and family dinner conversations.
On Saturday Jan. 21, Women’s Marches took place all over the world. Reasoning included the funding of Planned Parenthood, LGBTQ rights, and the new Cabinet administration under President Donald Trump.
According to the Women’s March official website, the goal of the demonstrations was to “stand together in solidarity,” making sure to “show [their] presence in numbers too great to ignore.” And the numbers were great. It was estimated over 3.3 million people participated in marches all over the world, on all seven continents, even Antarctica. This was impressive.
In a society that is now being led by a man obsessed with numbers, here were statistics that refused to let themselves be ignored.
A-list celebrities also made their way out as both speakers and demonstrators to stand alongside fellow Americans, strengthening the publicity of the movement. Using one’s fame as a means to gain attention for a cause is by no means a new tactic, but it is one that proved its ability at the marches.
Not only were news sources covering this march, but celebrities’ fans were kept up-to-date on what was happening. The publicity of this march brought people together. Those who were there connected not just to their fellow marchers, but to everyone else on the streets and at home.
“As soon as I heard this was going to happen, I knew I wanted to participate,” senior global studies major Sophia Roberts said.
Roberts was one of the 500,000-750,000 people who attended the Los Angeles Women’s March.
“It was empowering. It was humbling to see people from all walks of life. It didn’t matter your gender, your sexual orientation, your race, your age,” Roberts said.
Rafaela Fiore Urizar, who has a doctorate in Contemporary Latin Literature, also attended the march in LA.
“[The marches were] a representation of different anxieties from different groups,” Fiore Urizar said.
The Atlantic article by Julia Ioffe entitled “When Protest Fails” brought up an interesting thought to contrast the hype behind the marches. As much as there is strength, there are plenty of possible weaknesses that can be taken away from the event. Mainly, the “vague, unstructured cause” and “too much diversity of purpose” that left supporters with “no real political path forward.”
At the end of the day, it can be easy to bring together rallies and protests, but winning actual influence in the political world is not. However, if the momentum is used to push this movement past just a one-day event, there is absolutely power within the people.
“For me, going to the march was a gift,” Fiore Urizar said. “Sometimes you assume that you have that possibility but you don’t look at how precious it is. It was not only a right, but it was a sensation of power. It was a sensation of not being alone.”
Above all else, however, these marches display just how strong Americans can be when they stand together. Whether you believe in the reasons behind the protests or not, we can all agree that it is powerful and encouraging to see so many citizens from different backgrounds and cultures unify and speak out for what they believe in.
“It was very interesting to see the different ways that people in the march were demonstrating,” Fiore Urizar said. “There was a part that was singing and joyful. There was another part that was more anger. And I really enjoyed seeing that diversity in feelings.”
It was the diversity of genders, cultures and even feelings that made the marches so powerful, and continuing on with this passion and fight will guarantee a change, or at least a conversation about how to bring change about.
“Honestly it was one of the best experiences of my life,” Roberts said. “The feeling was just beyond words. We’re going to be able to tell our grandkids about this. That we were there.”
Change is possible in this new era.