• Susan Kiskis

Women's March: This is What Democracy Looks Like


Mary Beth, Baltimore, MD

Voted in 2016 Election

What are some of the key issues that concern you in regards to women?

Health care/reproductive rights and workplace equality.

First off, pregnancy should not be considered a pre-existing condition and insurance coverage should never be withheld or have outrageous premiums because of it. As far as the abortion argument goes, if and when my daughter is old enough to face this decision, it must be safe and legal option. In too many states, it is made so difficult, it is nearly impossible.

Workplace equality- Whether it is gender, sex, or race there is still such an extreme inequality in hiring and the pay, treatment within the job.

Also, I don't know what topic this would fall into, but the general inequality of women. We live in a rape culture where, in my opinion, we have idolized and encourage the aggressive male whether it is telling young boys to 'man up' and not be a wussie. Idolizing athletes and letting them get away with actions (harassment, cheating, lying), tolerating "locker room talk" while at the same time teaching our girls that negative attention is still attention and assertiveness and speaking up for yourself and others is looked down upon. These traits and lessons follow us all the way into adulthood. We should have the same standards, expectations, and respect for everyone starting on day one.

What was your experience like at the Women's March?

I would like to start off by saying that my purpose for going to the Women's March wasn't solely based on women's issues. Throughout the entire presidential campaign, and even before, there were so many hateful words being thrown around. During the campaign they were mostly by President Trump, but also by people in general. The women in this campaign were held to an entirely different standard then any of their male counterparts whether it was in their appearance or speech. That inequality is unacceptable.

As far as the derogatory comments against anyone from POW veterans, women, African Americans, LGBTQ, Muslims, and Mexicans (I am sure I left some out) were not only outrageous but gave license to those with similar beliefs to become more vocal and act upon them. His careless remarks and accusations made hate O.K.

I have 3 girls at home and they deserve more. They deserve a place where they are valued for brains and abilities, not their outward appearance. I marched for everyone because we deserve more.

This was my first march so I had no idea what to expect. Our Metro train was packed and when we got to Union Station, we made our way to the street. The amount of people was a bit overwhelming at first, but we just followed the flow of people towards the Mall.

It wasn't until we got to the pool in front of the capitol that I was able to start to wrap my head around the numbers. We weren't able to make it anywhere near the stage to hear any of the talks.

As one woman told me in passing, while we were weaving our way through the tight crowds, "Don't go that way, it is so crowded up there, I think I may have just gotten pregnant."

We found a place for our group to stand to wait for the march to start and just watched. There were young adults climbing up scaffolding. There was a woman on rollerblades holding a climate change sign. There were babies, families, generations of people walking around. There were pro-choice sighs, pro-science signs, signs of Trump and Putin, anti-racism and pro-immigration signs, planned parenthood, girl power signs, Princess Leia, Wonder Woman, and Harry Potter signs, pussy grabbing signs- and it was amazing. One of my favorites was a little African American boy with his mother in front of us with a paper pinned to his back that read, "I walk because I believe that we can. Thank you President Obama." His mother said she asked him why he thought he was walking and that is what he said.

When the march was scheduled to start we stood in the streets and waited, shoulder to shoulder with people of all different sizes, shapes, and colors. We waited and waited, and then we were told to turn around and march the other way, there were too many people to follow the original march route.

We marched along side a priest and police officer that lead our voices, "What does democracy look like?"

"This is what democracy looks like!”

It wasn't until we finally made it to the end, that I realized we had actually closed roads as we went, there was a taxi driver trying to drive. But, like in so many other times throughout the day, people were polite and helped him out by getting the crowd to move with excuse me, pleases and thank you's.

Even the packed Metro home was polite. We were sandwiched in like sardines, but I even heard one woman talking to a teenage girl that didn't participate in the march, explaining civics and the purpose of the the protest.

It was a long day. The most powerful part of the march to me was chanting "This is what democracy looks like!" as we passed the Newseum with the First Amendment engraved down the side.

It was amazing.

Photo credit: Mary Beth

On Saturday, January 21st, millions of women across the U.S. marched to show solidarity in times of uncertainty. Women stood up and let lawmakers know their voices will be heard. From Los Angeles to St. Paul, from Chicago to Washington, D.C., cities swelled with large numbers of not only women, but men, too. Estimates currently range from 3.2 to 5 million people who peacefully protested.

To put that number in perspective, Washington, D.C.'s current numbers roughly match the 1969 Anti-Vietnam protest in D.C. The Women's March may wind up being the largest single day protest in the history of the U.S. cultural institutions across the globe are collecting signs from the protest, keeping them as historical artifacts.

In response to the protests, President Donald Trump tweeted:

In response to his remarks, and to inspire generations to come with this incredible moment in history, we present to you Women's March series. The series will share stories from the Women's March, as experienced by the men and women who attended them.

#Women #WomensMarch #washington

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