Sydney Kaplan ‘18

What is the Women’s March?

The Women’s March took place on January 21, 2017 in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and in some 300 other cities across America, as well as all across the world. Simply put, the march was for women’s rights in America. The description on eventbrite.com reads, “We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families– recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.” If you’d like to check out the rest of the website, here’s the link.  

My Experience at the Women’s March on Philadelphia:

I went to the Women’s March in Philadelphia with my mom and two other women. It was a really provocative experience. The signs I saw were incredible — funny, inappropriate, sassy, creative, brilliant, weird, kind , and angry. The age range was vast, from little kids to seniors. Women dominated the marches, but there were also many men supporting the cause. It was extremely peaceful. One of the beautiful things about the March was that people were there not only for women’s rights, but also for immigration, the Dakota Access Pipeline, abortion rights, the Supreme Court justice selection, and many more issues. While there, I met a woman named Lynn, who with tears in her eyes hugged and thanked me for coming. She said she was there because she was a victim of sexual abuse, and because some of her friends are transsexuals. Talking to Lynn and seeing how hopeful she was reminded me that even though we have a long, difficult road ahead of us in our march towards equality and freedom for all, we can get there. This was my first protest, but it was definitely not my last.

Interviews

Women’s March on Philadelphia: Indre Page

Q: Who did you go to the March with?

A: I went with my two daughters and I met one of my sons there.

Q: What motivated you to come to the Women’s March?

A: There are a lot of different things that inspired me. Obama’s farewell speech, which said we should not take democracy for granted. Another thing that inspired me is the frightening platform of the Trump administration and my strong desire to react to those aggressive ideas in a constructive way. Also realizing that all of us need to be activists. I think that my last and maybe largest reason for going is my children, especially my two daughters. They are young, but not too young, and they were tuned into the election. I wanted them to feel empowered.

Q: Did you find going to the march to be a meaningful experience?

A: Very. What felt most meaningful to me was to be with my children, particularly my daughters, among so many people participating. Solidarity- that was the most powerful. The entire world was responding. It was so confirming. Beautiful energy.

Q: Do you have a response for people who think that protesting is useless?

A: I think they should look at history. I think that will demonstrate how important it is for citizens to be involved. Some of the most historical moments have occurred because of protests. I think in our community at Friends’ Central, we know that more than anything- that as individuals and in small steps we can make a difference. We are reminded of that everyday.

Q: What is the “next step” for you?

A: The Women’s March has organized activities for the next 100 days. The first activity in that plan is to send postcards to the state representatives about why we participated in the march. I’m also going to make phone calls about the Cabinet [appointees].

I am poised to participate in the next nationwide event. I’m looking for it. If there was another protest, I would go. I find it all very hopeful.

 

Women’s March on Philadelphia: Noelle Mercer

Q: Who did you go to the March with?
A: I went with my club, SisterCircle, and many others in the FCS community (and my mom)

Q: What motivated you to come to the Women’s March?
A: Anger, mostly. And restlessness. I was angry that such an unqualified and hateful bully was elected as president. It felt like a personal slap from America– a powerful reminder that many Americans do not acknowledge me as one of them. I was also restless. For more than a month I sat on the knowledge that Donald Trump would be leading our country, and I felt useless. I wanted to do something, wanted to take action, but I did not know what to do. The Women’s March provided the perfect opportunity to practice my constitutional right and show the Trump Administration that I was, and still am, angry and ready to funnel my anger into something Trump cannot ignore.

Q: Did you find it to be a meaningful experience?
A: The signs alone made the March worth my while. They were hilarious and heartfelt, and reminded me that even in desperate situations we can still find humor and creativity. Also, there were an around 60,000 of us in Philadelphia alone (I’ve heard there were about 3.3 million marching worldwide), which gave me so much hope. My anger and outrage was validated, and I experienced a fierce solidarity with people I had never met, and may never see again.  

Q: What does the Women’s March mean to you?
A: To me, the Women’s March represents solidarity and hope. It represents movement and the expectation for change in America.

Q: What do you hope the Women’s March will help to accomplish?
A: I hope that the Women’s March will remind the Trump Administration, the alt-right movement, and anyone else who believes that they can infringe upon the rights of others that we will not be silent. We will protest and rage, and we will be heard.

Women’s March on Washington, DC: Teacher Monty

Q: Who did you go to the March with?

A: I went with my partner and my younger brother.

Q: Is there a specific issue that made you want to come?

A: It’s a range of issues. I’m thinking a lot about what America has to teach young men about what it means to be a man, and I want to challenge that. I made a sign that said, “Talk to your sons about consent”.

Q: Did you find it to be a meaningful experience?

A: It was incredibly powerful to see that many people who were equally frustrated. I was disappointed to both see and learn that a lot of women of color, in particular, and people of color chose not to participate. I think a lot of the people who did participate need to reflect on why that is. I hope it means that people who haven’t come out before are going to start show up for events addressing issues affecting communities of color. That said, the march was still awesome.

Q: Do you have a response for people who think that protesting is useless?

A: I would say it’s useless if it doesn’t turn into anything. I just read one really compelling article about how protests prior to the dawn of social media were the culmination of a movement, but now we see them as the spark of a movement. I think that makes a lot of sense. Rallies are also extremely useful in reminding people that they’re not alone. I think in that way, it can be an act of self-care as much as an act of solidarity. It feels good.

Q: What is the “next step” for you?

A: The next step for me is making room in my spring seminars for global issues that I feel passionately about and that I feel students are anxious to talk about. And also to help students figure out how to direct their energy regardless of their political beliefs, because I think if we as teachers seem defeated, students won’t know what to do with their own drive and questions.

Other Pictures Sydney took at the march in Philadelphia:

 

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