Women’s March on Washington

Nikita Manjuluri

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Women protesting for abortion rights.

The Women’s March will be held Saturday, January 21st from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Washington, D.C. It is an organized effort to bring attention to the changing government and the problems regarding human rights. The march shows the strength of the minorities whose rights have been repeatedly overlooked by many people of power during the election. The march’s vision states that they “stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.”

The founder of the march is Teresa Shook, a retired attorney and a grandmother that became an activist when she decided to organize a movement promoting minority rights in light of recent events. The movement started as a small idea and expanded to include sister marches in 26 different countries with over 600 total marches. The organization also has over 120 partners and advocates for every organization that aims to break through the hate and violence.

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President- elect Donald Trump speaking about an issue.

Although the campaign does not recognize itself as an anti-Trump march, it does highlight many of the mistakes he has made and ideologies he stands for. Many of the people coming to the march are there to stand against Trump’s harassment of women and discourtesy towards minorities. However, the march is not limited to women or just minorities. Every person that supports equal rights is welcome to attend, yet men seem to be reluctant. Only a fraction of the people that signed up on Facebook to march is men. Jackson Katz (author of Man Enough?), Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and the Politics of Presidential Masculinity believe that this is not because these men do not support women’s rights, but because they are hesitant to show their opinions about abortion and sexual harassment for fear of being regarded as less masculine.

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The Capital during the presidential inauguration.

Along with the march on the day following the inauguration, there are youth initiatives and a national committee that aim to support the activism. The WMV Youth Ambassador program encourages young leaders who want to make a difference in the world. The youths have roles as advocates for children all over the world that want to have a say in issues. There are many inspiring co-chairs of the National Committee: Tamika D. Mallory, Carmen Perez, Linda Sarsour, and Bob Bland. Vanessa Wruble is Head of Campaign Operations and a part of the National Committee. They all have different backgrounds and experiences which contribute to the effort. They were chosen because they are influential women that have made a mark in the world.

Although the march claims to promote the rights of all people, there are concerns over the way the movement has been organized. The first controversy was over the original name, the Million Woman March, which was held by black women in 1997 for human rights. The name was changed to the Women’s March in Washington when people demanded the new march must be original, and it could not be named after a march with a different purpose and result. Then, more confusion was introduced when a poster was released which displayed hands of different skin color holding a torch that ultimately resembled the male gender symbol. Some felt this failed to support the feminist movement. Finally, many question if this is simply a group of women that are angry over the election results, or as The New Yorker put it, “[It is] as if a group of girlfriends who had failed to elect a female president was trying to organize the most anti-fascist bachelorette party in the world.” There is much controversy over what the march represents.

The Women’s March is a movement that intends to encourage all people to make their voice heard. The campaign aims to show how to appreciate people’s differences instead of resenting them. The organizers of the march say it best when they say “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.”