By: Azl Saeed ~Staff Writer~
More than 600 Sister Marches complemented the Women’s March on Washington, including one in Cincinnati, on Jan. 21 to support women’s rights.
Thousands of Cincinnatians and Ohio residents joined the Sister March in Washington Park with a rally consisting of speakers from Planned Parenthood, Women Helping Women, Black Lives Matter, the AMOS Project and the Islamic Center of Cincinnati. Several local politicians came to the march and made speeches, including Aftab Pureval, Hamilton County Clerk of Courts.
The march commenced at 1 p.m. after Pureval’s speech and headed on a planned route of roughly one mile that was created by Cincinnati Police. The event drew in women, men and children of all races, religions, ages and sexual orientations to support one uniting cause: the equal rights of all people, which was demonstrated by the signs.
Sydney Boyer, one of the Xavier students who partook in the march, said that she attended in hopes of making a change in this world.
“I’ve always felt a pressure to conform to stereotypical women roles,” Boyer, a senior French major, said. “However, I’ve always wanted to work for peace and fight for the rights of others. So, I marched for the need to be taken seriously in a society where mainly males dominate the policy-changing roles.”
Boyer described the experience as extremely powerful and eye-opening.
“I didn’t just hear the stories of women like me, but I heard the stories of women from all backgrounds,” Boyer said. “So marching for me was also about the women who don’t have the same story as I do. All women don’t have the same story and the same inequalities, and I think that is important to recognize.”
While the initial intent of the march was to display support for women’s rights, the march included many other social justice movements. Many of the marchers held signs in support of criminal justice reform, education reform, gender justice, LGBTQ rights, immigrant rights, reproductive rights, economic justice and disability rights, among others.
“As a White middle class woman, I was empowered by the strength of women from different backgrounds and organizations, like Black Lives Matter,” Boyer said.
Boyer said that the march provided a sign of hope for herself and all of the others present.
“I hope that this strength and this momentum doesn’t die as we move forward through the next four years,” Boyer said. “I also hope the same support will be shown for issues of minorities and all those targeted during this past presidential election. I feel called more than ever to do something, and I will work hard to make that happen.”
Carmelle Walsh, a junior Xavier student who also participated in the Women’s March, described it as “incredible.”
“I started towards the front. I could see the whole line of people,” Walsh said. “While we were ending the mile route, others were just starting the march. It was so humbling to see so many people come out and give their time to a cause that was unifying rather than dividing. I really felt the love that people came to the rally with and everybody was extremely peaceful during our segment of the march.”
Wasch also added that she had a variety of motivations for marching.
“I marched to support global citizen equality concerning pay, educational opportunities, access to healthcare and everything a person needs to have an ethical quality of life,” Walsh said. “I know most of the women’s marches here in the U.S. supported political campaigns, but the fact that so many cities across the world participated made this bigger than simple American politics.”
More testimonies from the march can been viewed under the hashtag #WhyIMarch.
The Women’s March’s vision was to stand together in solidarity and bring attention to the diverse communities across America and stand up for their rights.
“In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore,” The Women’s March missions statement reads. “The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office and to the world that women’s rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.”
The Sister Marches in the U.S. were also joined by marches in 33 other countries including England, Kenya, Japan, Australia and Mexico. A small protest was also held in Antarctica during an expedition.