The weekend of January 20th was one for the books in Philadelphia. Thousands upon thousands of women, men and children gathered to march upon the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Saturday, January 20th, in the second annual Women's March. Many were decked out in their finest Eagles gear. The following evening the Eagles would win the NFC Championship against the Vikings in an electrifying game.
I arrived in my David Bowie Aladdin Sane t-shirt and Dark Side of the Moon denim jacket, confidently walking with my girl group. I am not sure what I had expected the crowd size to be, but whatever I imagined was blown away as I turned the corner to Logan Square. A massive crowd was gathered around the Swann Memorial Fountain, slowly dispersing onto the parkway to begin the slow march towards the rally in Eakins Oval.
Women, men and children marched with signs ranging from the humorous, "Trump eats Tide pods," to the serious, "I walk for all the women who can't because they still think it's their fault." It was enlightening looking around and seeing people of all walks of life coming together to support each other. With such a life-changing event, my life was forever changed through the lessons I learned.
One of the main messages that has stuck with me since arriving back on campus following the march was, "The power of the people is greater than the people in power." Being a Libertarian Republican, one who believes in limited government, I was immediately struck by this phrase. In the past, suffrage was gained through forcing the government to pay attention to the people demanding it; cases in point being the Suffragettes and the Civil Rights Movement. Time's up on denying anyone a fundamental right.
Towards the end of 2017, the #MeToo movement grew to immense proportions, opening up doors for victims who have remained silent to have their brave voices heard. Hundreds of posters displayed messages of solidarity with women who are victims of sexual harassment and assault. Being within a sea of supporting faces lit a fire deep within me, a fire to do more. Immediately, I donated to the TIME'S UP Legal Defense Fund, a legal support network for people who have experienced sexual harassment and assault. I will continue to write pieces for my school newspaper and other writing platforms on sexual harassment in America. Time's up on remaining silent.
One sign, written with a black marker on a white poster read, "Walking for the transgender woman who wanted to be here, but was killed for being her." In 2016, approximately 23 transgender people were murdered. This number climbed to approximately 28 in 2017. Violence against the trans community is still a crucial issue that absolutely demands national attention. Time's up on violence against transgender people.
One thing that was definitely obvious was that the Women's March was a banner for tons of different messages. These messages included women's rights, gay rights, aiding Puerto Rico, anti-Trump, abortion rights, encouraging women to run for offices, and many more. At one point in a speech by Councilwoman Cherelle Parker, she encouraged every woman in attendance to run for an office, something that hit a chord with me. Why don't I go into politics? Why not make a difference? Why not me?
So, why not you? How can you make a difference?
Lead Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons