Last week, on the day after Donald Trump was inaugurated, millions of people gathered around the globe to register their disapproval. Here, University of Venus contributors who took part in these actions report back on their respective marches and discuss what comes next.
Denise M. Horn, Simmons College, Boston, MA
I marched in DC with hundreds of thousands of others. I came down from Boston in chartered bus, packed with 55 women (and a few men!), singing and clapping. The energy was electric, even as we waited in a line of busses to park for over an hour. I have never been to a march so large, so focused--and so long. We marched for hours!
What do we do now?
Janni Aragon, University of Victoria, BC, Canada
I was in tears as I looked at the crowd of people in downtown Victoria. The crowds was a few thousand strong and one of the largest turnouts that I have seen in my 12 years living in this city. This was a great start to more action. I have had a chance to speak about the issues with the media and in some classes and will continue to do so. I am part of letter writing campaigns. Overall, I am trying to speak truth to power and encouraging others to do so.
Mary Churchill, Salem State University, Salem, MA, USA
The women's march and rally in Boston was one of the most amazing moments in my life. These are dark days and the community that came together on Boston Common was exactly what I needed, what so many of us needed: people peacefully gathering together from all corners of the region - all kinds of people coming together to support one another in the face of what, hour-by-hour, becomes increasingly difficult to face, to parse, to believe.
Local activist, Mariama White-Hammond, opened the morning in such a wonderful way and Elizabeth Warren was fabulous, as always. Mayor Walsh was pretty damned impressive and continues to be as he declared Boston City Hall a sanctuary and vowed to continue to fight against discrimination. On Saturday morning, we received a note from the Boston Public School Superintendent detailing resources for parents and students. Our city councilors continue to do the day to day work that is so necessary to keep our city inspired and moving forward when all so many of us really want to do is curl up in bed with our loved ones and hide under the covers.
On Sunday afternoon, Boston gathered to protest the Muslim Ban and Anti-Immigration Orders on Copley Square. Our mayor was at the airport Saturday night and he was at the protest on Sunday. I am incredibly grateful to be in Boston during this chaos and insanity
Gwendolyn Beetham, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ USA
I went to DC and, like Denise, was so impressed with how large, long, and focused the March was. In the week since (has it really only been a week?!), I have often had periods of extreme overwhelm, as every day brings another blow to civil and human rights. I have been thankful for efforts like the Women’s March 10 actions/100 days, as well as weekly action round-up websites and newsletters. These are particularly important as I attempt to pace myself, since we are clearly in it for the long haul. I have reached out to elected officials, not only those who we need to urge to speak out, but those who already are. This morning (I’m writing on Sunday) I sent a thank you note to Senator Cory Booker, who has been speaking out against the refugee ban as well as the wall, and who showed up to Dulles airport last night in support of those being detained under the new order. I’m not in the classroom this semester, but I will be participating in and organizing programs that are aimed at civic engagement. I believe that we in higher education have an important role to play in ensuring that the next generation understands how democracy can and should work to protect and promote the rights of all people.