By Victoria Gill
Elm Staff Writer
Over the horns and shouts, colorful posters demanded acknowledgment alongside the fierce pink “pussyhats.” Saturday, Jan. 20 marked the anniversary of the 2017 Women’s March in Washington D.C., and people gathered again this year to mark the event and continue the protest. Thousands of women filled the city streets—from D.C. to N.Y. to Philedelphia, and even to Rome and London.
During the first march, individuals protested against President Donald Trump’s policies on topics such as immigration, racism, and healthcare, as well as his negative treatment of women. Now, after a full year of Trump being in office, things have spiced up. Marches and rallies continue on topics like climate change, the travel ban, and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). This year’s Women’s March was no exception.
Going out into the streets and making your presence known is one of our most important rights as American citizens. But what goes on after the streets are cleared and your posters have been thrown away? Do you still speak up? Do you continue to make a change?
“Power to the Polls” was a centerpoint at this year’s Women’s March, as the protest focused on promoting voter participation by pushing for increased registration. Encouraging fellow women to run for high political positions has also been a theme of this year’s march.
Of course, with the occurrence of these exciting events comes a swarm of coverage on all types of social media. Expressing your frustration on political issues online doesn’t create real change in comparison to going out and physically doing something about these issues. A benefit of social media activism is that a large audience can react to a single celebrity saying “call your representative, and this is how you do it.” People band together online in movements like #MeToo, as sexual assault victims are speaking up in support of one another’s healing. But are you supporting these causes when the camera isn’t on you? Making a difference requires real world change.
There is so much that can be done to help, like donating to charities or raising awareness about these problems at schools. If Trump’s tweets can create a reaction, why can’t ours? Work to promote organizations, such as Boys & Girls Clubs of America, that promote confidence and leadership skills, Planned Parenthood, or the National Resources Defense Council for climate change.
As was beautifully said by Olivia Libowitz in another recent Elm article: “this nation-wide conversation is growing.” It is amazing that recently we have come to a better understanding of how to talk about current events and problems. You don’t have to tweet or scream about it every second of the day, but stay consistent, and speak up when you or others need it most. Know that the small efforts you make effect everyone, even if you can’t see that right now. They will soon enough.
These marches, especially the Women’s March, are the turning point of history, and are capable of leading the United States in a direction of growth, understanding, and, hopefully, a rise in equality.