For a group of people that felt silenced on election day, their voices sure were heard on January 21.
When I first heard about the women’s march in San Jose, I knew I had to go. It broke my heart when I watched Donald Trump win the presidency, and I knew this march would be my way of expressing my opinion in a way I couldn’t politically.
Junior Marissa Proost agreed, saying, “As someone who is too young to vote, participating in the march was a way for me to have my voice heard.”
For many people, myself included, this march marked the first political protest we’ve participated in. While the reasons for going may vary, everyone had something they felt was worth fighting for.
As a community comprised of women of different races, sexual orientations, and backgrounds, a good number of us felt disturbed by many of the comments Trump has made about these different communities.
And that’s why this march was so unprecedented and so unique. Not only was this the largest recorded inauguration protest in history, it struck a personal nerve for millions around the world.
Presentation led our own group on the march that embodied its universality. Tim Case, Vice Principal of Student Activities and organizer of the Pres group, wrote in an email: “The beauty of a march like that is whatever issue or concern that moves someone is a legitimate reason to march – be it gender inequality, the wage gap, representation of women, concerns about the administration, etc.”
After witnessing the impact of the march, I completely agree. Arriving with our own concerns but joining together to support each other is what made this protest so powerful.
Even the ride there was community-inspired. All of the light-rails were uncomfortably jammed full of people, yet everyone continued to sacrifice personal space so more protesters could join. Giving up comfort for a common goal embodied the spirit of the march before it even began.
But this was just the beginning. Actually getting to the march and seeing the amount of people, all different in age, gender, race, sexual orientation, and background, provided such an intense sense of belonging. It made me proud to be American, even during such a downhill spiral of American values and standards. These forward-looking people represented the side of America that still accepted differences and hoped for positive change.
Junior Kristin Greenfield, who attended the San Francisco march, agreed: “I was really surprised by the diversity. I was kind of expecting it to be all millennial women, but there were people of all ages and genders. The only thing I didn’t see was a pro-Trump sign.”
The smaller children attending were one of my favorite parts of the event. They gave me an image of future generations who would make better decisions and fight the hate that has become so prominent during this past year.
I saw babies with “Feminist in Training” on the back of their carriers, “Lady’s Rights Man” typed on a little boy’s t-shirt, and one boy waving a “Stronger Together” sign on his dad’s shoulders. Knowing that these kids will grow up to be decent, accepting human beings was very encouraging.
I got to see more of these signs when the march actually started, and not just from kids. People carried countless powerful, creative, and humorous messages that made the protest even more meaningful. And considering 25,000 people showed up after just 7,000 were expected, there were plenty to enjoy.
I didn’t really know what to expect when we neared the end of the march’s route, but we ended up at the Plaza de Cesar Chavez surrounded by volunteer organizations and group speakers. Groups in support of education, LGBT youth, women’s rights, immigrant rights, and many others (my personal favorite being the Raging Grannies) were there to offer their support and give protesters a chance to volunteer.
These organizations really contributed to the community spirit because they allowed us to continue the fight we’d displayed on the march. We had already expressed our desire for change, so these groups gave us the opportunity to make those changes in a way that would both benefit the community and help us fight for our individual causes. Seeing that many people contributing to a better society was inspiring.
Attending this march and protesting with my community was one of the best experiences I’ve had. For me, it marked the beginning of my political activism and I’m so proud that I had the opportunity to stand for what I believe in surrounded by such empowering people. Above all, it helped me realize that there are still people in the world who care about our nation and who believe that positive change is possible.
We just have to be willing to make it happen.