Published in The Dragon's Tale, March 2017. “You will never be ignored again,” newly elected President Donald Trump said during his inaugural address on January 20, 2017. His statement rang true as on January 21, 2017, over 5 million around the world marched for the Women’s March on Trump’s first day in office.
The Women’s March was an organized peaceful protest rally in Washington D.C., inspiring sister rallies around capitals in the United States and around the world to “stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families,” according to their mission statement.
According to womensmarch.com, the Women’s March wanted to “send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights.”
Not only did the march advocate for gender equality, but according to their website, “support the advocacy and resistance movements that reflect our multiple and intersecting identities.”
The Women’s March also put an emphasis on having a nonviolent protest, stated in their guiding principles online, which lead to a successful day of zero arrests made in Washington D.C., according to D.C. Homeland Security Director Christopher Geldart in an interview with thehill.com.
One of the Dragon’s Tale staff journalists, sophomore Reagan Sauve, was able to march in Washington D.C. Sauve bought tickets to take a bus with her sister and mother on Friday, January 20, from Ashland, Kentucky to Washington D.C. Sauve could not ignore the impact of this march and knew she wanted to be apart of it.
“I thought how could I miss this? This is a life changing event,” Sauve said.
The event was supposed to be four hours long, but the speeches given by activists and celebrities, including actress America Ferrera, pop icon Madonna, director Michael Moore, and activist Gloria Steinem, stretched the event to five hours.
“People, including myself, were getting really mad [by the fifth hour] because it was super tiring, so we were all yelling, ‘march,’” Sauve said.
While many participated in the march, countless others took to social media to express their opposing opinions of the march. One post was shared by Indiana Sen. Jack E. Sandlin, who shared a photo on Facebook of a ‘meme’ that referred to the women who marched in the rally as “fat women out walking.”
The post was removed from his wall and replaced by a statement explaining that he was “Not sure how that ended up on my Facebook wall but that certainly does not reflect my opinion of women.”
While Sandlin’s opinions on the marches is unclear, some women had opposition to the quality of the marches.
“I’m fine with [the marches] because I agree with the purpose, but typically it ends up being negative or bashing other people’s beliefs, and I don’t agree with that,” SOHS senior Rebecca Young said.
Whether the beliefs of those who marched were positive or negative, the worldwide turnout was strong. According to the Women’s March website, there were 673 sister marches and around 4,876,700 sister marchers.
Close to home, in Louisville, KY, The Rally To Move Forward was held in front of Louisville’s Metro Hall. This rally was held as a sister rally with the Women’s March.
For those who support the movement, the march does not stop here. 10 actions/100 days is the continuation of Women’s March. Every 10 days, womensmarch.com will post another action to be completed towards their movement. The first action was to write a letter to your senator. The website gives full instruction and advice on how to complete the action as well as resources to help those who do.
As seen on the Women’s March twitter, the group is coming up with future plans as well.
On February 14, 2017, @womensmarch tweeted a picture that states “General strike: A Day Without A Women. March 8th.” Along with this are a thread of tweets asking questions about businesses, including questions about gender equity and environmental destruction. March 8, International Women’s Day, held a strike to watch for these women making another statement, possibly in some more cute pink hats. After all, women just want to have fun.
An open letter from the Editor-in-Chief: Mother of the Exiles
Throughout the election, I sat pretty quietly. I expressed myself on Twitter and to my friends, but I did not do anything to create change. I supported those who exercised their rights and spoke out against the the injustices in our country, but I never did much speaking myself.
Finally, I came to my breaking point.
On January 27, 2017 President Donald Trump signed an executive order that stops immigration (immigrant and nonimmigrant) from 7 countries with Muslim-majority for the next 90 days. These countries are Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. This includes no entry to the United States with or without a Visa.
Found in the official order document on CNN.com, the order states in Sec. 2. Policy that the purpose is “…to prevent the admission of foreign nationals who intend to exploit United States immigration laws for malevolent purposes.”
The order also puts a halt on admitting refugees into the United States for the next four months and suspends the Syrian refugee program indefinitely.
According to theguardian.com, “Prioritized refugee claims on the basis of religious persecution, so long as the applicant belongs to a religion that is a minority in their country of origin. This provision would allow the White House to prioritize Christians from the Middle East over Muslims.”
In theory, this rule works for the minority and would help the little guy. But in this case, little guy works out too conveniently for the U.S. by being the majority religion for us, Christianity.
In response to this order, on January 30, 2017, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer hosted the Rally for American Values at the Muhammad Ali center in downtown Louisville.
This rally was in response to Trump’s executive order to show the thousands in Louisville, including myself, who oppose the ban and support the immigrants and refugees.
As soon as I got to the rally, the energy was amazing. I could feel the connection we all had, like one wave moving together. When I first got there, my friends and I were some of the first who could still make our way up the stairs to the center in front of the stage. But by the time the rally was over, the whole center was packed. The stairs were shoulder to shoulder, and the streets were flooded with people. Chants came from the street like a call to rise, and slowly all the voices from the street to the stairs to the floor chimed in.
On the day before the Rally for American Values, I really dug into the facts about this order and I was overwhelmed. I was overwhelmed with grief and sadness for those who were being affected by this executive order, and I was overwhelmed with the need to speak up.
I thought of the pieces that put this country together: the people- the immigrants fleeing from their native countries in search for a better life.
But now, I feel the foundation of our country is being betrayed by its current administration.
Along with the 4 million Syrian refugees who need to come to our country to seek safety, I thought of my family. I thought of my step brother and his Muslim wife, daughter, and son, and the love I have for all of them.
The building blocks of our nation has always been celebrated. The melting pot of cultures, the land of the free, the mother of exiles. This should continue to be celebrated and continue to make America great.
While 13% of the general population are (both legal and illegal) immigrants, according to the Migration Policy Institute, most of us have been affected by immigration or have personally known an immigrant.
Your friends or family members could have been adopted from another country. Your neighbors or coworkers could have moved here from their native country. Even if you do not have one of those ties you can look around you. Our nation is filled with people of different colors, religions, and beliefs. So far, by mixing our different qualities into the melting pot, we have been able to survive and prosper together.
I beg you, do not judge someone based on their skin color. Do not judge someone on their religion. Do not judge someone because of the radical extremist groups that “share” the same religion.
I beg you to stand for your beliefs. Use your voice and let it be heard. Stand for your friends and family. Stand for democracy and our ability to fight for equal rights for everyone. Stand for all. Stand up, no matter what your values may be, because that is what makes our country great.