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Published on February 9th, 2018 | by Chloe Forssell

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Women’s March message louder and compelling one year later

As the sun rose on the morning of Saturday, Jan. 20, the streets of Downtown Los Angeles were flooded with over 500,000 passionate citizens eager to walk in the 2018 Los Angeles Women’s March.

 

Last year, the march was held the day of President Donald Trump’s inauguration, and focused on the issues probing America such as gender inequity, racism, sexism and other discriminatory beliefs. More than 700,000 women, men and children showed up to march from Pershing Square around the Downtown streets in order to combat the issues Trump presented that were plaguing the American people.

 

This year the march was held again; however, due to major controversial events throughout 2017, it promoted new themes. The majority of the protesters focused on the recent #metoo and #timesup movements that have surfaced. These hashtags highlighted the surge of women sharing their stories of sexual harassment that had been swept under the rug for years, and the recent push to encourage women to run for public and government office.

 

Additionally, the LA Women’s March featured a number of celebrity speakers. Scarlett Johansson, Natalie Portman, Viola Davis, Laverne Cox and many other notable women all addressed the passionate, invigorated crowd, speaking to their own personal experiences as powerful woman in the workplace and begging young girls to stand up and be proud of their gender, not let it hinder their success. Davis was applauded for her exceptionally elegant speech, in which she touched upon the current hardships for women in this nation.

 

“When I raise my hand I am aware of all the women who are still in silence, the women who are faceless, the women who don’t have the money and who don’t have the constitution and who don’t have the confidence and who don’t have the images in our media that gives them a sense of self-worth to break their silence. No one and nothing can be great unless it costs you something. We’ve got to bring up everyone with us. I stand in solidarity with all women who raise their hands, and my hope for the future is that we never go back,” Davis said (provided by The Washington Post).

 

It may seem like a dark time for women and minorities to live in America, but there is a silver lining. The fragmented state of the nation has opened the eyes of today’s youth, and has brought forth hundreds of thousands of children protesting alongside their mothers and grandmothers, desperate to change the future for their growing generation. For this reason, hundreds of Samo students marched alongside the Los Angeles community, including Christine Shimahara (’20), a young passionate activist.

 

“I believe that the Women’s March is a way for women of all colors, shapes and ages to come together to fight for and celebrate our rights, along with the rights of women all over the world. We fight for women who don’t have the same privilege of expressing their opinions and freedoms that we do,” Shimahara said.

 

Many have the false belief that the Women’s March is a protest geared towards expressing anger and outrage, however this couldn’t be farther from the truth. The online organizers of the march posted a message detailing the true meaning of the event, which is acceptance, love and peace.

 

“[The march is a] pro-peace, pro-inclusivity event focused on marginalized voices and the power of voting. Part of our resistance is focusing on how we will use our vote to create the future we want. We respectfully ask that ‘anti’ sentiments are not the focus of this event,” they said.

 

The Los Angeles Women’s March was not a solo event. Women’s Marches sprung up across the nation in many major cities, including Boston, Chicago and Washington D.C. The rallies drew in crowds nationwide, and allowed all Samo students to participate, no matter where in the country they may be. Senior Adya Mohanty (’18) attended the march in New York City, and was very empowered by the experience.

 

“The sight of the Trump Towers was more than enough to set off the passionate individuals I stood with. We were fiery and angry. It was a cathartic and empowering experience,” Mohanty said.

 

Women are fueled to fight powerfully as the nation heads into the second year of Trump’s presidency. All the protesters are staying confident and hopeful that their voice, no matter how small, will make a large impact. Samo freshman Kalana Ortega (’21) feels lucky that she was given the opportunity to speak up for oppressed and march alongside powerful women, and plans to continue advocating as she advances in her high school career.

 

“The Women’s March was, as always, an uplifting experience full of positivity and love. [The march] opened my eyes and showed me that the world can truly be a beautiful place where every human is counted and treated with equality.” Ortega said. “The Women’s March is about more than just protesting what we hate. It is about passionately fighting for what and who we love.”

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