Turning Activism into Action
Article by Zoey FitzGerald Kidwell
On January 21st, 2017, 2.6 million people around the world took the streets to advocate for human rights and for a better future. It was considered the beginning of a revolution, a spark of hope in a world turned completely upside down. After current President Donald Trump was elected, people panicked. But despite their worry, citizens everywhere decided to come together. The Women’s March was a protest, but also a way for people to acknowledge the unity still prevalent in the United States. This year, on January 20th, there was a reunion march. This march was called, “Power to the Polls” and the slogan: we are the leaders we have been waiting for.
The reunion march was a continuation of the powerful movement that began last year. It was a recognition of the vibrancy still alive in our country, a celebration of our diverse communities, and the strength of individuals who have yet to give up hope in the face of adversity.
Those that attended this year’s Women’s March in Cincinnati consider it the beginning of a larger social movement. Many women and men who attended felt motivated to continue being vocal about their opinions, and felt that attending displayed pride in a diverse community. Sam Buckel, a junior at Kings, told the Knight Times about how important the march was in terms of standing one’s ground. “I don’t believe that saying you support something and actually going out there to support it are the same thing. To show what I mean when I say everyone should be equal, I went to the Women’s March.” Sam also described how liberating it felt to actually be surrounded by a diverse group of people with similar values. Women from the greater Cincinnati area were able to gather, feel included, and feel heard without having to speak.
The Women’s March did not focus solely on Women’s issues. It also helped other activist movements gain recognition. Mackenzie Mettey, Kings High School alumn and attendant of the Women’s March, loves the march because it focuses on injustice across the board. “My reason for joining the event was to show my support not just for women, but for everyone.” People advocated for the Black Lives Matter movement, immigrants’ rights, and research regarding climate change. Posters filled the streets, ranging from puns about Trump to serious messages about the health of our planet. A few of the creative and powerful signs include, “If you don’t fight for all women, you fight for no women”, “If you are more fortunate than others, build a longer table not a taller fence,” and “There is no planet B.”
Part of the beauty of the Women’s March is simply the connection between people fighting for similar causes. If one person attends to advocate for planned parenthood, another is there to talk about climate change. No matter the cause they’re advocating for, people feel supported. To Mackenzie Mettey, that was the best feeling. “Walking in the streets with all of the beautiful men and women surrounding you, standing up for what they believe in and you believe in, that’s got to be the best feeling in the world. It does, right then and there, feel like we are making history.” And that feeling is what swayed women to further their activism after the march.
Alice Coleman, a Kings student and attendee of this year’s Women’s March said, “More than anything, it convinced me that I am capable of making change, capable of helping others.” Alice had never been to a protest before. For her, it was about introducing herself to a movement and feeling a sense of pride in her community. She said that it felt great to actually stand alongside like minded people. Alice had always been passionate about human rights but never found an outlet to express her opinions with strong women alongside her. The march helped her realize the importance of continuing to be vocal. “It feels relevant now more than ever given the views of our current president and I will continue to be active in peacefully demonstrating what I believe.”
The Women’s March is about activism, protest, advocacy, and solidarity. It’s about feeling in charge of your own life, and being surrounded by those who are empowering you to do so. People everywhere are able to come together and physically advocate for a better world, rather than just sitting at home and reading about change. Alice Coleman says, “It’s very important for individuals who are passionate about an issue to protest for what they believe in rather than just sitting at home waiting for things to be done. Being able to come together as one to try and break down these barriers is very important to me.” The Women’s March has created a movement so powerful that people want to leave their homes and fight for the world. The movement has ignited thousands of activists and change-makers this past year and in 2018, people are turning their activism into action by bringing power to the polls and working to increase voter registration across the U.S. From the Women’s March emerge powerful and passionate women, and they’re ready to fight.