Women’s March on NYC Personal Experience

Avery Paulen

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Every step forward is a step in the right direction. That’s what the estimated 200,000 plus women, men, and children, including myself, that partook in the Women’s march on NYC and other marches all across the country were determined to prove this past weekend, January 20.

 

Since last year, women and men alike have joined together to march in support of equality and to promote civil rights for every human being. The 2017 Women’s March, which was originally planned to be in Washington, D.C. in response to the 2016 election that made Donald Trump America’s president, inspired same-day Women’s Marches across the globe. This year, 280 Women’s Marches filled the streets simultaneously.

 

The overall mood of the first marches in 2017 seemed to be reactionary. An outlet was needed to oppose the misogyny that threatened a woman’s right to abortion, equal pay, etc. Resistance soon became the only option in preventing the other issues the nation came to face beyond women’s rights, like freedom of the press, the president’s expected assault on the environment, and a feared crackdown on minority populations, including the LGBTQ community, colored people, and immigrants.

 

Chelseanow.com states, “There were familiar faces who inspired, Rosie Perez, Whoopi Goldberg, the quiet presence of Yoko Ono, and New York State Attorney General (AG) Eric Schneiderman — but the day belonged to those women who were committing themselves to change the culture behind the headlines.”

 

Just from being there, I could tell that this time was different. What once was a reaction had turned over to action. The 2018 Women’s March was a call to vote, run for office, speak out, and never be silenced by those in power.

 

Photo: Avery Paulen

 

I was fortunate enough to be a part of this incredible movement, which empowered me to stand up for myself and to always be proud of what I stand for. I gladly participated in cheers like “Spread love, not hate. That’s what makes America great,” and “Show me what democracy looks like.” / “This is what democracy looks like.” I watched men, women, and children of all races, ethical backgrounds, and social statuses come together for the purpose of defending a cause that was meaningful to them. For that, I was honored to stand by their sides.

 

What was even more amazing to me was the fact that I was a witness to the unveiling of democracy. As Americans, we are fortunate enough to have certain unalienable rights that the Constitution grants us. The democracy chant emphasizes the fundamentally patriotic nature of protesting, and reminds bystanders that democracy is virtually meaningless without the Constitutional right to peaceful assembly.

 

        Photo: Avery Paulen

 

The #MeToo and #TimesUp movements also had a prevalent role in the day, as marchers held signs that reminded people of the pain of sexual harassment and abuse many women had endured in their lifetime. Halsey, the singer-songwriter, approached the microphone at the rally prior to the march to share her poem, “A Story Like Mine”, which explained her memories of being sexually assaulted as a child, and other traumas she faced regarding sexual abuse growing up.

 

Mayor Bill de Blasio, who marched alongside his wife, Chirlane McCray, said “I’m very proud of New York City today with over 100,000 already out to fight for the rights of women and build a movement that started last year. It’s going to grow from this point on.”

 

I could not agree with de Blasio more. As part of the newer generation, I feel we have a responsibility to use our voices for those who can’t. It is our duty as American citizens to fight for what is right in order to benefit all the people, and if those in power are doing an injustice by not allowing or excepting the freedoms granted to each individual at birth, than something must done. Like protestors said, “Respect existence or expect resistance”.   

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