On January 20th I attended my second Women’s March. Last year when I heard our school was sending a bus to Boston to attend the Women’s March I was hesitant. I was not sure I should even be going, I was still questioning whether or not I even considered calling myself a feminist. I mean I have never gone out in public without a bra let alone burn one…
At the end of my freshman year I joined a group at school called SEED, Scientists Embracing Equality and Diversity. That club really opened my eyes that the world isn’t fair. One of the things that has stuck with me from one of our first club meetings (I joined SEED in it’s first year) is that even though there seem to be more women working as physical therapists men still hold more of the higher positions. As a white girl that’s fortunate enough to attend a private college I had never thought I would have limitations in what I chose to do.
So fast forward to sophomore year and the election of Donald Trump. It’s safe to say a lot of the members of SEED were disappointed in this election, with his comments about women and his disregard for global warming I started to realize that when you believe in something you need to voice your opinion. So when I heard about the bus going into Boston I thought it would be such a cool experience. But I was also terrified. I saw clips on the news of police in riot gear and I freaked out. But I mean how often do you get the opportunity to be surrounded by so many people who want to lift each other up. So I put myself on the waitlist and I was lucky enough to get in.
Here are some of my favorite signs from Boston:
I can honestly tell you that is a day I will remember for the rest of my life. Last year was my year of trying new things and I am so glad I went. It’s so powerful to be around women who support each other and want each other to succeed. I learned that I need to use my voice to stick up not only myself but also for other women (and men!) who face more discrimination than I will. The American Dream should be available to everyone. There are three memories that stick out to me about that day. One was when we were at the rally in the morning. They had a group of Native American women sing the National Anthem in their native language and it was so beautiful. The next is more of a funny one. After realizing we would not even get to walk because so many people showed up at this rally, my friends and I hopped a fence. Talk about women and men lifting up women, there’s no way I could have gotten over that fence without my friends, talk about a metaphor. And the third was just how breathtaking it all was. I remember I just walked marveling at all the pink and posters around me. It was indescribable.
Here’s a picture of me at the Boston march:
So fast forward to this year. One of my best friends mentioned how a girl I went with last year was getting a group together to go to Northampton. I immediately texted her that I was in. As exciting as it is to go to a march, it was a little disappointing that we had to go again. It was just 364 days ago that we were marching and although things are changing it’s not soon enough. Two months after the Boston march a Canadian judge in a rape trial asked a woman why she couldn’t her knees together (full article). But then we have trials like Larry Nasser which gives you hope things are changing. If you want to see a strong woman in action watch this excerpt of Aly Raisman’s speech at his sentencing.
I felt more comfortable going this time. I have gotten over my apprehension about calling myself a feminist although I do not go around telling everyone I am one 😉
The night before we all met at one girl’s apartment and made signs. I borrowed one of my best friend’s shirts because I left the one feminist shirt I had at home. It’s crazy how much I had grown in one year, I had boarded the bus a year prior with no idea what to expect, no sign, and no feminist gear. This year I had a sign (with words on the front and back so everyone can see what I have to say!), a shirt, and an even larger group of friends to go with.
This year’s was definitely more low-key but I still had an amazing time. There were less people but it was still so crowded you could barely move at one point.
Here are some of my favorite signs from Northampton:
First of all I love the sign about introverts because as an introvert I totally agree!
Can we talk about how cute this girl is?! And her sister had a sign with the Star Wars logo for the rebellion that said Rebel.
One of my favorite things that was said at this march was not to make fun of Donald Trump’s physical appearance. A disabilities advocate was speaking and said you can make fun of his character all you want but when you talk about his tiny hands you are hurting people with disabilities. I think one of the reasons that I had originally been hesitant to call myself a feminist was because they seem very polar. You will not catch me saying #notmypresident because guess what he is. I did not vote for him but he is still in charge of the country I live in. I am not happy that he is but he is. So I really admired that someone brought that point up because I think it is important to remember. Spewing hate is only making more walls when we should be building bridges.
While we are on the topic of building bridges let me tell you about Maddie, the girl I went with last year and this year. She is the definition of a strong woman and a self proclaimed nasty woman. She was the president of our school’s Rachel’s Challenge group before I took over (ahhhhhh!) and she is always starting chain reactions. She made an extra sign to bring to Northampton so that she could give it to someone that did not have one. She knows how to lift people up, emotionally and over fences. And here is our transformation picture.
Last but not least I wanted to tell you about my sign. The front has become my feminist mantra after it was behind me in my Boston picture. That photo was not staged it just happened that way. The back said “If not now when?”. A tribute to one of my favorite Christian songs (Do Something by Matthew West) that says, “If not us then who, if not me and you, right now. It’s time for us to do something. If not now then when, will we see and end to all this pain. It’s not enough to do nothing it’s time for us to do something.”
That was way longer than I expected and I think it is the longest thing I have ever written on here but I hope you liked it! And remember we were all given a voice, to stand up for ourselves and others.