Scene + Heard Take On The Women's March.

    

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By Sam Baldwin

On Saturday, January 20, 300,000 protesters of all ages, races, and genders united in Grant Park, Downtown Chicago for the Women’s March to the Polls.

    Evidence of the march was visible even in Evanston-  before boarding the “L” at Noyes, you could see dozens of students bearing giant posters crying out for greater gender equality, immigration reform, and environmental awareness.

    With each stop, more and more men, women, and children hopped onto the rally-bound train. Some wore the pink, knit “pussyhats”- a symbol of womanhood that began at last year’s women’s marches as a forceful jab at Trump’s infamous Access Hollywood tape. Others wore t-shirts with clever slogans, or pinned buttons onto their winter jackets.

    Even before arriving at the rally, there was a sense of camaraderie among marchers. People struck up conversations with one another, complimenting each other’s signs and shirts, and discussing their own personal reasons for marching. However, the connectedness I felt on the “L” was nothing compared to the rush of emotion that greeted me the moment I stepped off the Monroe Red Line stop.

    Suddenly the small crown on the train seemed insignificant, as I walked into a sea of people, all rallied around several important causes. On my left an energetic woman stood on a stone wall, leading a call and response chant into a megaphone.

    “When civil rights are under attack, what do we do?” She yelled, prompting surrounded marchers to respond with even more passion: “Stand up! Fight back!”

    Meanwhile, to my right, in the middle of South Columbus Drive, was the Trade-Women’s drumline, an all-female group of hard-hatted, neon construction vest claden women beating drums to a powerful rhythm.

    Yet, through all of the commotion and excitement, the thousands of signs hoisted above marchers heads were the most captivating. My friend and I had kept our signs simple- we wrote “Girl Power” and “The future is female” on them in huge pink and purple block letters- but the standard of signs surrounding us was impressive. Fellow marchers proudly hoisted artistic, empowering, and clever signs.

    Some cried out for intersectional feminism, holding up staggering wage gap statistics showing that Hispanic women make only 54 cents to every white man’s one dollar- a stat that is often overpowered by non-intersectional forms of feminism. Another plea for intersectionality reminded marchers that 51% of white women voted for President Trump. These signs both addressed the complaints that last year’s march was geared too much toward white, middle-class women- an issue that is still being addressed today.

    However, other signs took a more humorous approach. A woman proudly carried a hot pink sign that simply said: “men suck!” Others held simple white signs that said: “Trump listens to Nickelback” and “He doesn’t even have a dog” - two slightly more culturally centered, yet still scathing messages.  

    My personal favorites, though, were the simply optimistic signs held by countless young women. From little girls aspiring to be future presidents to older women hoping that the next generation will see more equality than the last, these signs were truly empowering.

    Yet, better still was the fact that below each and every sign, from the angry and scathing, to the more humorous, all the way to the optimistic, was a strong, smiling person fighting for a cause dear to their hearts. The Women’s March to the Polls was a day of positivity and empowerment for all.

 

Steven Norwalk