I Know Why I March. Do You?

“Oh my God. Do you see them with them with the Hillary hats on? C’mon. The election is over, Trump is President, get over it.”  “Kaepernick is probably somewhere kneeling down hahaha.” Clearly, these Trump supporters did not agree with protesters exercising their first amendment right although this country they love so dearly was founded on the act of protesting.  Standing in front of a crowd of the most privileged people in this country -white, straight, cisgender, upperclass, able-bodied, males- on a gloomy, overcast morning and witnessing their jeers and sarcasm made me sick to my stomach.  Capitol Hill was not as crowded as I thought it would be; nevertheless, my heart felt as though a dull knife had punctured it.  Thoughts about the upcoming Women’s March on Washington were swirling around in my head faster than I could process them as I took in the scenery of the Inauguration.  I was feeling threatened even though I was around people of my own race.

In an article posted by the Independent Journal Review, veteran Bill Medler took refuge in the Thomas Jefferson Memorial during the chaos.  His message to the protesters was, “I served in the military and fought for people’s rights to be free.  I may not agree with what people are protesting, but as long as they are doing it peacefully, that’s alright by me.”  It is imperative that more people adopt this mindset.  Protesting is a form of civic engagement, which is tied directly to civil society in the establishment of a democracy.  Oftentimes, conservatives in the United States want to claim their support for the “democracy”, yet they are quick to criticize any person participating in democratic activities.  They typically regard this form of civil society as irresponsible, perilous, unnecessary, and illegitimate, but fail to provide a safe alternative to not be complacent in disagreeing.  I admit, some radical protesters make irresponsible decisions, but any rational person would understand that the majority should not be stigmatized by mistaken minority.  I respect the fact that this conservative veteran stands for cooperation.

I began to think of women of color, LGBTQ+ women, Muslim women, and all other marginalized women and how many other obstacles constantly constantly dragged their soul to the ground.  One girl I talked to on GWU’s campus said she was not going to the march. When I asked her why not, she responded, “I do not feel like marching with people who would not have uplifted my black female voice prior to this election.”  Being submerged in a sea full of ignorant, hateful enablers, I dissected exactly why I was going to the Women’s March on Washington the next day.  One reason why I marched yesterday was to show that I stand in solidarity with every woman around the world and recognize that each of our shackles are different. There are many aspects that factor into the identity of the female in the United States and elsewhere. However, many white women fail to acknowledge the intersectionality of feminism, and they constantly leave our sisters of color, of different religions, of different sexualities, etc., behind.  At the march, I remained very quiet to observe the women and allies around me.  Many white women only had posters with pictures of white women on them or posters with quotes from Susan B. Anthony on them.  Little did they care to find a quote from someone who did not uplift white women from the exploitation of women of color.  This election has quite profoundly demonstrated to world the racial, gender, and socioeconomic divisions in the United States, but the Women’s March on Washington personally showed me that white females have a lot of stretching beyond their inner circle to progress towards.  A pang of guilt and shame came to me.  With that, however, materialized my motivation to spread the importance of Intersectional Feminism.

I know why and for whom I marched.  I hope that in the future, the women with more privilege will open their eyes and stretch beyond their inner circles to embrace the unity in diversity of the female identity.  Do you march or will you march with a selfish agenda…or in solidarity?

Bibliography:

  1. Random Trump supporters
  2. independent Journal Review
  3. GWU freshman female
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