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    • Madeleine Walker ’19 and Lilly Tipton ’18 attended the Women’s March on Washington D.C. on Saturday January 21, the day after the inauguration of President Donald Trump.

    • One million people participated in the peaceful protest in Washington D.C.

    • Aline Ko ’17 and Sophia Cronin ’17 both attended the Women’s March in New York City on January 21, along with 500,000 others.

Hilltoppers March on Washington

Chloé Glass '17 News Editor and Katie Broun '19 Assistant News Editor
The day after the inauguration of the 45th President, American city streets were flooded with more than five million Americans in a sea of pink hats as part of the largest demonstration in American history. Dozens of Hopkins students and faculty were among those who marched on January 21 in Women’s Marches in Washington D.C. and New York City, while others attended local events in Hartford, New Haven, and Stamford.
 
At the outset, the movement was planned in response to President Trump’s misogynistic and sexist comments. The peaceful protest was originally titled the “Million Women March,” as a tribute to the 1995 “Million Man March” and 1997 “Million Women March” of the civil rights and feminist movements of the late twentieth century. The Women’s March advocated equal rights for all, including the #BlackLivesMatter, (dis)ability, and LGBTQ+ movements, while remaining a platform for intersectional feminism.

Madeleine Walker ’19 attended the demonstration in America’s capital and explained that she wanted to voice her opinion as a part of progressive change. Walker ’19 said, “Trump’s policies threaten many rights of the innocent, as his policies benefit a specific group of people, including himself, and America is comprised of much more than that. His campaign is based on a foundation of hate, and the country has to be moving forward, not stepping back in history.”

Kate Horsley, Classics Department Chair and faculty adviser of Hopkins SAGA (Sexuality And Gender Advocates), traveled to the march in New York City with her child Aeron Horsley ’20. Speaking of her experience, Kate Horsley said, “I wanted to make my voice heard, and feel connected with other people. I worried that [the Women’s March] might be ?too ?focused on white/privileged women’s issues?; however, as the organization developed, it ?included leaders from a variety of communities?.”

Participants in the women’s marches pointed out that demonstrations are a vital part of American democracy, showing the government public perception concerning certain issues. Drew Mindell ’18 marched with over 400,000 others in New York City, and expressed the belief that “America was founded on democracy, and if we cannot express our opinions, in some cases through demonstrations, then how effective is that democracy?” 

History teacher Zoe Resch, who marched in D.C., also indicated that freedom of speech and the right to peaceful protest are core American values, saying: “The United States has a long history of protest from all political perspectives, and we are a model for democratic movements all over the world. If anything, peaceful protest is patriotic- another way of expressing reverence for the freedoms and history of this great democracy.”

Sheila England, a New Haven Register Editor Emeritus, attended the Women’s March on Washington and pointed to the American Revolution in 1773 as a historical parallel of public demonstrations against the status quo. She referred to the Boston Tea Party’s slogan of  “no taxation without representation” saying, “[The Women’s] March was a natural extension of that battle cry. The Constitution guarantees the right to peaceful assembly, so what could be more patriotic than gathering to express our views that women’s rights are human rights?” 

Zander Blitzer ’18 agreed with England that standing up for the rights of others is a constitutional duty, saying, “Many people, including myself, went to the march because we love America, but don’t agree with the direction the government has been moving in.” 

While many agree that demonstrations are a core part of American ideals, for some the term “patriotic” has become too complicated to be used as the sole qualifier for such a public protest. Corinne Wilklow ’17, who marched with the demonstration in Washington D.C., explained, “It is very easy to write off any demonstration by saying it is unpatriotic, but we need to talk about the issues, and patriotism isn’t an issue in this country.”

Modern Language teacher Teresa Picarazzi described the negative connotations of “patriotism,” saying, “The word is a loaded term that is used too frequently to promote jingoism, isolationism, and blind acceptance.” 

Emma DeNaples ’19 took part in the march in New York City, and further illustrated the conflicting ideas concerning the intersection of demonstrations and politics, saying, “[The march is] patriotic in that we are fighting for what we want the country to be, but it could also be argued as unpatriotic because we are fighting against the government. In its essence, we are acting upon the values that our country was based on.”

Many who attended women’s marches told The Razor that it was a galvanizing movement for those involved. Associate Director of Communication, Jemma Williams, noted that the women’s marches were “The start of a new era of activism, one that energized a large part of the population.” Picarazzi added that: “The impact of this government in the US… has given birth and voice to a movement founded on human rights, one that refuses to normalize the current government.” 

Those involved with the March on Washington and the sister marches hope that the public will remain involved in fighting for progressive change at all levels of government. Wilklow ’17 explained that the fight for social equality must continue, saying, “It’s important to recognize that our fight [for women’s rights and civil rights] isn’t over. We need to organize and keep talking about this issue. A march is wonderful, but if all the movement is in one march, then it’s really just a parade.”

Allison Chun ’17, who attended the local Yale Women’s March, added, “The government can’t ignore the marches if we continue to protest, whether against racial injustice or silencing climate change scientists.” Agreeing that the American government functions in relation to the populace, fellow Yale Women’s March attendant Arnaaz Khwaja ’17 said, “The ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people’ ensures that those who hold power must allow us to pursue our chosen lifestyles, complete liberty from inequality, and, of course, happiness. That can only occur if the government listens to what we want, and that will only happen if we take action.”

Resch suggested that, given the amount of opposition the Trump administration has already received on controversial stances, “The next years will test Americans in ways we do not yet know.” After marching in Hartford, Fi Schroth-Douma ’19 felt as though the global community as a whole needed to take action, saying, “We need to stay aware, we need to be kind, we need to make art, and we need to get involved.”

People who attended these protests understood the impact of their unification. Kate Horsley commented, “It was exhilarating to be in the largest demonstration in Washington ever, to witness so many people coming together, particularly to feel empowered together when otherwise we might not feel safe.” “A lot of my friends wished they could have gone to the march,” Walker ’19 said, “But we will be fighting these same battles for [at least] four more years. There’s always enough time to do something.”
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