Women’s March rejects hateful discourse

Protestors across the country marched on Jan. 21 to protest inequality and unfair treatment of women.

About 30 University of San Diego students and faculty boarded the trolley to head downtown and take part in the Women’s March on Saturday, Jan. 21. Much like the mother march in Washington D.C., San Diego’s public transportation was packed and overflowing with those ready to march. On the trolley ride, USD students sang American classics, including  “Lean On Me” and “Don’t Stop Believing,” while others riding the trolley smiled and sang along.

The Women’s March pulled women, men, and children out of their homes to protest the inequality and unfair treatment of women. According to the Women’s March supporters, the march aimed to make a stance rejecting any hateful discourse. The Women’s March Facebook page explained their goals through their mission statement.

“We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families, recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country,” the Women’s March Facebook page wrote. “The rhetoric of the past election cycle has insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us: immigrants of all statuses, Muslims and those of diverse religious faiths, people who identify as LGBTQIA, Native people, black and brown people, people with disabilities, and survivors of sexual assault.”

USD senior Vicky Torres attended the San Diego march and was impressed with the atmosphere of the event.

“Everyone was so kind,” Torres said. “They were complete strangers.”

Excitement filled the air as USD students saw the masses of people exiting the Santa Fe Depot. Many USD members who attended the march did so as a way to demonstrate their rejection of Trump’s opinions and stances.

Director of the Women’s Center at USD, Erin Lovette-Colyer explained why she attended the march.

“I attended the Women’s March with my four-and-a-half-year-old daughter in an effort to be in solidarity with folks across the world committed to fighting for justice,” Lovette-Colyer said. “I didn’t feel like just tweeting but getting out there.”

Kaysha Nguyen did not attend the march but followed the Women’s March through the media. Nguyen expressed her reason for not attending.

“I would have attended, but I was too busy,” Nguyen said. “If I did go, I would march with the pro-life people.”

Many pro-life supporters were marching across the country, but some did not join the Women’s March because of conflicting beliefs. According to the Women’s March website, the march supported a variety of women’s health care resources, including access to abortion and contraceptives. Because of this difference, pro-life supporters were dissuaded from joining the Women’s March.

Similar to Nguyen, Erin Scott, a freshman at USD, did not attend the march.

“[The march] was something I wish I had participated in, since it’s very important to take action on,” Scott said.

Upon arrival to the Civic Center, a Women’s March representative delivered an update.

March officials explained that, in several cities across the country, more people came out to march than expected. For many of the USD students and protesters, this was their first march.

First time marchers witnessed what seemed to be an endless sea of women, men, and children holding signs. USD sophomore Jayden Yeoman expressed that she was amazed at the unity of the march, despite different beliefs.

“I was also surprised to see that the Women’s March included people rallying behind a variety of different topics along with women’s rights,” Yeoman said. “I didn’t understand how wide the scope of topics was until I arrived at the march and started to read all of the signs people had created. Some of the topics I saw included global warming, Black Lives Matter, Dakota Access Pipeline, LGBTQ, etc. I liked that, even though we may all have been there for slightly different reasons, we could still all march together united.”

As the march began, USD students found themselves at the head of the march. Chants began to ring from groups and strangers: “Show us what democracy looks like,” “This is what democracy looks like,” and “Love trumps hate” were the most frequent and strongest cheered.

For the USD members in attendance, the march appeared to be unifying. Lovette-Colyer shared that she felt a deep sense of solidarity with those in attendance.

“I felt empowered to walk alongside so many people speaking truth to power,” Lovette-Colyer said.

Similar to Lovette-Colyer, Torres explained her experience.

“Uplifted, inspired, I felt very loved,” Torres said.

Nguyen and Scott, however, were mixed in their feelings.

“The march will give women a voice, but our country is divided, and this Women’s March showed this,” Nguyen said.

“Definitely inspiring, empowering,” Scott said. “All the men and women there were there to lift each other up. [President Trump] will not divide us.”

The San Diego County Administration Building acted as the finish line of the march. With a couple hundred feet left to go, a young girl atop her father’s shoulders asked, “Is this the party?” Her father, happy to answer said, “Yup.” She then responded, “I like this party.” Time magazine has labeled the Women’s March as “Perhaps the Largest Protest in U.S. History.”

Although there were positive reactions about the march, USD freshman Ally Ramona had some concerns.

“I don’t know if it will increase the divide more,” Ramona said. “People get these ideas that feminism is smashing the patriarchy and that we are men-haters, and some people get that idea in their mind. It’s hard to be open-minded.”

Despite some concerns many expressed about the effectiveness of the march, Yeoman expressed that it is necessary.

“Even if no one listens, the Women’s March still demonstrates that it is important to share your voice with the world because that is the only way change will happen,” Yeoman said.

Despite differing views on the Women’s March, it was a historic event that marks one of the strongest calls for social and political action in our country.