On October 17th, 2020 thousands of mask-wearing and socially-distant individuals took to the streets to fight for gender equality. All across the United States, marches were held for many reasons: to remind people of the importance of voting, especially during the 2020 election; to honor Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s legacy; to fight for gender equality; and to ensure the protection of reproductive rights in the United States. For me, attending this Women’s March was driven by all these motives and many more.
After my cross country practice on the Saturday of the March, I quickly painted a poster board with the phrase, “WAP: Women Against the Patriarchy.” I got that from a tweet posted by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez. On the back of the poster, I painted my favorite Angela Davis quote: “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change: I am changing the things I cannot accept.” Then, I made my mom a sign with a Ruth Bader Ginsburg quote and soon, we were off to Boston.
When I arrived at the March, the historical Boston Common was flooded with welcoming people of all ages. Some wearing Handmaid’s Tale costumes, others wearing masks inspired by RBG’s famous collar. Protesters held up creative and beautiful signs with various powerful messages written on them. I captured photos of some of the signs that I came across. Before everyone began marching, speakers gave speeches. One woman expressed her experiences as a woman of color, and the importance of representation. Another woman, a Massachusetts legislator spoke about how important it is to get out and vote.
We protesters chanted various phrases: “say her name,” “my body my choice,” “black, trans lives matter,” and “protect all women.”
Once the speakers were done, everyone began marching up to the State House on the famous Beacon Street. People passed by the march. They cheered, waved, snapped photos, and honked their horns. We protesters chanted various phrases: “say her name,” “my body my choice,” “black, trans lives matter,” and “protect all women.”
Each moment at this Women’s March felt enlightening and empowering for me. It is a day that I will never forget. The energy of the crowd was so positive and moving. People showed up for this event and exhibited the passion that people have for being civically-engaged within their communities.
The election that happened a few weeks after the march was historic. Other than the emergence of the first Black, South Asian, female Vice President Kamala Harris, there were other historical firsts. Sarah McBride is the first transgender state senator. New Mexico is the first state to elect all women of color to the House (Deb Haaland, Yvette Herrell, Teresa Leger Fernandez). Deb Haaland will serve as the first Native American cabinet secretary. Kim Jackson is the first openly LGBTQ+ state senator in Georgia. Mauree Turner is the first non-binary state lawmaker and the first Muslim in Oklahoma’s state house. Taylor Small is Vermont’s first transgender representative. Cori Bush is Missouri’s first Black Congresswoman. Marilyn Strickland is the first Korean-American woman elected to Congress and Washington’s first Black Congresswoman.
These incredible people are the first, but they are most certainly not the last. Our country’s diversity is finally being reflected in our government. In the next election, I am hopeful that we will see more representation and an even more diverse U.S. government. However, this will not happen unless we continue speaking out about the issues that motivate us. ost importantly, we have to vote in every single election. We must continue moving forward as a nation, not backwards, because this long fight for gender equality continues.
As Ruth Bader Ginsburg once said, “women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.”