By Rachael Yadlowsky – Collegiate Staff
Saturday, Jan. 21, there was a women’s march on Washington to protest the inauguration of President Donald Trump and to remind citizens to protect women’s rights.
What started off as a Facebook post the day after the election made by Teresa Shook turned into an organization of an estimated 200,000 people going to march on the National Mall between 10 a.m and 5 p.m. According to the march website, there were 673 similar marches scheduled across the country and throughout the world today.
A four-hour rally jump started the march featuring speakers including Angela Davis, Gloria Steinem among others.
“We are the wall,” Tammy Duckworth, Senator of Illinois, said to the crowd. “You will not roll back our rights, not as long as we’re here, not as long as we’re breathing.”
Many speakers stood on the stage and proudly voiced their opinions and gave encouraging speeches to the crowd of marchers below.
“We have one message for Donald Trump,” said Ilyse Hogue, President of National Abortion Rights Action League Pro-choice America. “We will not be punished for owning our lives.”
Actress Scarlett Johansson spoke about how Planned Parenthood helped her and many women in her life.
“No judgements, no questions asked, Planned Parenthood provided a safe place where I could be treated with gentle guidance,” Johansson said.
“President Trump, I did not vote for you,” Johansson said. “That said I accept that you are our president-elect and I want to be able to support you, but first I ask that you support me.”
Many speakers including people from Muslim-American communities, Native American communities and many others continued to speak about climate change, police brutality, racism and many other issues.
“We who believe in freedom, cannot rest until it comes,” Angela Davis said. “Cannot rest until it comes.”
Organizers state that the march was to send a message to Trump and to be more proactive about women’s rights, but more importantly to make a stand on social justice and human rights in the range of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, immigration and healthcare.
Many participants who came from outside of Washington D.C rode in one of the 1,200 charter busses that were hired by the organization.
Five of those 1,200 busses stopped at the Fountain Street Church across from Grand Rapids Community College’s campus and began their journey to Washington D.C at 6 p.m on Friday.
The church also held an event that corresponded to the march in Washington. The event coordinator, Kristen Loch, explained that she sees participation as a step toward sending a message to the new presidential administration.
The church live-streamed the national march inside the church’s sanctuary for the Grand Rapids community and those who couldn’t attend the march to watch. Representatives from organizations such as Planned Parenthood, The Progressive Women’s Alliance, FSC Women’s Association and Black Lives Matter attended as well. .
At the event, poets, musicians performed and spectators voiced their opinions to those in the church while frequent check-in’s with the Washington march was streamed.
“This march is important to me because it shows that we will not stand down,” Loch said. “We are all equal and should be treated as such regardless of age, gender, race, sexual orientation, or religion.”