January 31, 2017
On January 21st, 2017, millions of women from across the entire world were united by the fight for women’s rights. The largest march, with a crowd of over half a million, was in Washington D.C., but women’s marches took place in every state. In addition, every continent joined American women in their fight, from 30 in Antarctica to hundreds of thousands in Europe. Some speakers included America Ferrera, Ashley Judd, Scarlett Johansson, Alicia Keys, and Madonna. In addition to women’s rights, many people marched to defend their liberal stance on issues like abortion, immigration, climate change, healthcare, and the new administration.
Sam Greenblatt, a student who attended the march, said, “The current situation in our country has made me really upset and I thought if there was a way I could get involved then I should. It was really amazing being surrounded by such supportive, like-minded people and it just made me feel really comfortable and encouraged during a time where I rarely feel like that.”
There was some opposition to the women’s march. Some were against the overwhelming ratio of white women to minorities and the aversion toward pro-life organizations, which were not invited to attend. Many people, men and women, held up signs in support of all of people, not just women, and not just white women. Some may have held slightly different beliefs than what the march represented, but the Women’s March was undeniably a march for human rights.
On January 27th, 2017, Trump Administration enacted an executive order which would block the entry of immigrants from dominantly Muslim nations, while Christian refugees would still be given priority. This Muslim ban sparked up protests at airports and major landmarks around the country. In addition, rallies were held in cities throughout the UK. Some chants at the protests included “No hate, no fear, refugees are welcome here!” and “(Show me what America looks like) This is what America looks like!” A parliamentary petition with almost 1,800,000 signatures aims to prevent Donald Trump from making a State Visit to the United Kingdom.
Sarah Courtney, a student who attended a Muslim ban protest at BWI Airport, said, “Everyone there was super nice and just really amazing people. The first person I saw was a black Muslim boy. He was no older than ten and he was screaming the chants with his whole family. It was really amazing.”
Hundreds of protests occurred immediately after the signing of the executive order, and more are scheduled for the future, including a Candlelight Protest Walk at the Islamic Center of Washington on February 11.
March for Life
The March for Life is an annual pro-life march which has been occurring since 1974 as a protest for Roe v. Wade. Mike Pence spoke at the march. Those who marched strive to give a voice to the unborn and help those who have had an abortion deal with emotional trauma. Many religious groups participated in the march. The march’s final destination was the Supreme Court. Emily Ahmuty, who attended the march, said, “We marched so people would know that abortion isn’t the only option, to give a voice to the voiceless, and to protest something we think is morally wrong.” The march was described as an empowering and enlightening experience with a welcoming atmosphere.
March for Science
After the nomination of Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma Attorney General who argues against many proven scientific facts, for head of the Environmental Protection Agency, organizations including the EPA and Department of Agriculture have been silenced. Scientists from across the nation are planning to gather in the nation’s capital to fight for the representation of science in government and legislature.
The march will take place on Earth Day (April 22nd.) Their motto is “Science, not Silence.” The March for Science website includes in their statement of purpose, “Mischaracterization of science as a partisan issue, which has given policymakers permission to reject overwhelming evidence, is a critical and urgent matter.”
Adira Colton, a student who plans on attending the march, said, “I hope that my supporting a movement that can better the lives of all people through scientific achievement, we can convince the current administration that science is important and relevant.”
Like the Women’s March, the March for Science will not only take place in Washington D.C.—marches are being scheduled across the nation, including in Atlanta, Boston, Miami, Los Angeles, and Seattle.
The free waters of the United States have taken some tumultuous turns since January 20, 2017. But, through these violent divisions, new bonds have been formed. People who live opposite lives have come together to fight for a common opinion. A few small voices in the crowd asked America to show them what democracy looks like, and millions answered.