We witnessed history this past weekend. We witnessed the biggest protest in U.S. history. We witnessed the Women’s March — both in Washington, D.C. and all over the globe. In fact there were 673 events across the world that took place, to be exact. To put things into perspective, an estimated 500,000 people took part in Washington, D.C. — and this wasn’t even the biggest march! Approximately 750,000 people made their voices known at the march in Los Angeles. New York City was also quite up there, with about 250,000 people. If you’re interested in more numbers, click here.
We chatted with a few millennials who participated in marches. Instead of us simply recapping it for you, hear what they have to say about their experiences firsthand.
I took part in the Women’s March on New Orleans to remind our leaders that we exist, and that despite the outcome of the election, there are millions of us who did not vote for Trump. But more importantly, I wanted to lend my voice to something beyond a Trump protest. For me, it was about standing up for our right to use birth control. It was about fighting against the patriarchal system in which domestic violence and rape are still daily threats to our survival. It was about #BlackLivesMatter and fighting to save our planet.
We still have A LOT of work to do, not just as a movement for policy change but within our sisterhood itself. There were not enough women of color in our group, and that is a reflection of us, not them. White women must do more to include diverse women if we are ever going to make effective change.
– Amanda Mester, Writer/Editor
New Orleans, LA
Connect with Amanda on Twitter @heyyybonita
#WhyIMarch. The Women’s March in Boston was one of the most incredible things I have ever been a part of throughout my life. It wasn’t because of the signs, the amount of people, or even the actual March itself, but it was because of the camaraderie and passion that people carried with them. Before the actual March started, people were chatting with one another about a variety of things, but it always seemed to come down to one common theme: keep the momentum going. People around us talked about how inspiring it was to see so many young people at the march. One man told me, “You all are the next generation. At our community meetings in our town, it’s all older people, but now I know we are in good hands. We must keep this going.”
However, it was one woman during the march in particular who shook me to my core. Towards the end of the march, I passed a woman in her 60s who was standing on the sidewalk, clapping. It seemed as though something must have come over her, because she started to shout words of encouragement to the group with such vigor: “DO NOT BACK DOWN. KEEP FIGHTING. THIS IS NOT WHERE WE STOP. WE ARE WOMEN, WE. DO. NOT. BACK. DOWN.” We locked eyes and I will never forget that feeling. Her tone and shaking in her voice struck me. I felt her urgency and her power. I felt a connection to someone I had never met before, but understood so deeply.
Over the past year, I’ve come to realize that being a women is one of the most empowering things about me. How can I not continue to stand up for my rights and the rights of so many others? How can I not let my voice be heard? If my experience marching has taught me anything, it’s that we are here, we are stronger than ever, and we will not back down. I vow to keep that woman’s words with me and to continue to keep the momentum going. Will you join me?
My personal motivation to do the Women’s March on Washington goes back to my minor in college being Women and Gender Studies. I devoted most of my college career learning about feminism and peaceful protests, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to be a part of the history I’ve always learned about!
I became very emotional upon entering the march, and noticing the “older” generation of people who I had read about, coming out again to fight for issues they still cared about. What was most inspiring to me was to see how many young people there were there. More young people are being involved in politics now more than ever, because I believe that issues that actually affect them are coming to the surface. As a millennial I believe it’s our responsibility to continue to fight for causes that will help future generations to come.
– Nicole DeFilippis, Teacher
As I watched the presidential campaigns unfold, I was repeatedly shocked by the countless instances of sexism. The sad reminder that women, minorities, LGBTQ, immigrants and the disabled are still not treated equally washed over me with a dark despair. Of course, I knew our society was not even close to perfect, but somehow I thought the pinnacle stage of democracy would be a cut above the rest. Clearly I learned my lesson.
This election taught me that simply being aware of what’s going on in our government and caring about the state of our country is not enough. I have to try to create the world I want to live in. And so, I have started marching, reaching out to elected officials, taking more time to volunteer and paying closer attention to the news than I did before.
From the moment I heard about the Women’s March I knew it could be a tangible way I could express my rage, take action and make my voice heard. There was no doubt in my mind that I was going to DC. I berated my mom and best friend with calendar invites to block off the big day, followed by updates about the movement and information on travel and hotels. It was essential that I spent the historic day with women who support me in everything I do and give me reason to fight for women’s rights.
I couldn’t be happier to say that my wish came true, for the most part. After months of anticipation, I finally got to walk hand in hand with these women, shouting for equality, justice and progress. While we had originally planned to march in DC, a bus that never showed up had other plans for us.
After a four hour wait in the wee hours of the morning, we realized Washington was not an option and instead channeled our fiery passion into the New York City sister march, which left nothing to be desired. There were moments during the march that I was left speechless by the radiant, positive energy that flowed around me — not to mention how it felt to be welcomed into a deafening sea of hundreds of thousands of participants proudly moving in unison.
Marching alongside my mom, who has been fighting for the same essential rights since 1969, was a humbling, frustrating, inspiring and unforgettable experience. It is sad to think that the world she sees today isn’t all that different than the one she marched in decades ago. I can’t understand how the peaceful, accepting ideals she instilled in me from a young age are not yet universally felt. She, and the many others who have walked a similar path, inspire me to continue their work. If they haven’t given up hope yet, what excuse do I have?
– Elizabeth Crowley
New York, N.Y.
Connect with Elizabeth on Twitter @LizFrances28
On the morning of January 21, I woke up at six in the morning and put on my NARAL Pro-Choice America hoodie and pink knit hat that my friend Lizz from high school made me. I pinned on my favorite feminist pins, packed my portable charger and some snacks, and headed down to the National Mall.
I work for a progressive feminist organization and often joke I am a “professional feminist,” so I thought I was ready. I had a plan in place to make sure I had all the collateral we needed, I had clementines, I had years of experience tucked under my belt — but none of that could have prepared me for the Women’s March.
This past election was disheartening not only for me, but for many women, immigrants, people of color, LGBTQ people and survivors of sexual assault across the country. It made us realize that the promise of full equality for all and eradicating hatred and fear in our political rhetoric was far from becoming our reality. The Women’s March reminded me that not only is there hope, but the resistance to misogyny, racism, sexism, xenophobia, hatred and bigotry is alive, well, and more awake and ready to fight than ever.
As I got off the metro in L’Enfant Plaza, I started crying. Nearly every single person in the station was holding a homemade sign with messages of peace, strength, equality and tolerance. They all chatted and introduced themselves to one another. I had not realized how alone I had felt in the aftermath of the election, and how much I needed this sense of community, of belonging, of strength.
I cheered for my heroes, Gloria Steinem, Angela Davis, Cecile Richards, America Ferrara, Kirsten Gillibrand, Tammy Duckworth and Ilyse Hogue. I chanted, loud and proud, “THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE!” and “BLACK LIVES MATTER!” I watched as little girls and young women walked past me, determined to fight to keep their hard-won rights and to keep fighting for progress and equality. I felt like I was at the epicenter of a truly intersectional movement to make people’s lives better.
One week later, my feet may have stopped hurting from being on them for seven hours, but my resilience certainly hasn’t stopped. And, it seems, neither has the resilience of the nearly three million who marched across the world.
People have been organizing postcard writing parties to their members of Congress, hanging banners on cranes behind the White House, marching for immigrant rights, and committing to daily or weekly acts of resistance. As this week’s TIME magazine cover notes, the resistance to Trump’s extreme agenda is rising. Without the Women’s March, we wouldn’t have had a place or a moment for us to come together and realize that if each one of us does one thing each day, we truly can change the course of history.
Let’s change history and fight for what we think is right together.
Disclaimer: The political views presented in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Not Another Millennial Blog.