We marched, now what?


By Tiffany Coelho | gargoyle@flagler.edu

After the U.S. Presidential Election in November, millions felt like America’s democracy had failed them. I, like many others, took Hillary Clinton’s loss as a true obstruction of the freedom, feminism and the overall progression of human rights that the U.S. had been cultivating, slowly but surely.

The harrowing isolation I felt by the outcome made it hard to put into words the true sorrow of his win. I generally surround myself with like minded people, as most people do, which made this election so much harder because we all thought he was one big joke.

I will never forget the look on my friends’ faces of pure defeat and true terror because of who America just made the most powerful figurehead of our country. Defeat. Terror. Confusion. So many tears were shed that day. What do you do when you are rendered powerless with one vote?

Flash forward two months to Jan. 21, 2017: the day after Trump was inaugurated. Now was our time to act. My friends and I drove 3 hours to Tallahassee to march on the capitol of Florida for the Women’s March. We were finally acting upon our fear and turning our defeat into something productive and political. We weren’t just marching against Trump, but for the rights of women that his administration would surely deprive us from, these include de-funding Planned Parenthood, ending birth control coverage by insurance companies, and so many other necessities.

We marched for all women, minorities, sexualities, genders and people. The idea of the Women’s March was to be as inclusive as possible, which we all knew the Trump administration would not be. In Tallahassee, I was surrounded by more than 15,000 feminists who were all marching in unity for one and other.

Overall, the atmosphere was electric as we all chanted in unison and marched for inclusion, reproductive rights, black lives matter, trans-rights, immigration, and so many other causes we hold near and dear to our hearts. The Women’s March not only gave me education, but more importantly, what I now could do to help other women. There was a rally that ended the march which just added to the community experience and general feeling that we can change by organizing, educating, and agitating.

I left Tallahassee and the Women’s March that day with a spark and feeling that I still cannot shake. Over the next four years it will become imperative for the million of us who marched, and those who choose to join us, that we do not forget what we marched for and why equal rights is important. This is not the time to be complacent and pat ourselves of the back for marching that one time. We must continue to rally and speak out for what we believe in. If you marched, then now is the time to practice what you chanted for that day.

Women have been struggling to be seen as equal for hundreds of years — one march is not going to fix so many years of inequality.

Whether you were at the D.C. Women’s March, Tallahassee Women’s March, or any of the other ones around the world, continue the education and community the march started. We don’t have to feel isolated anymore because now we must join together to defy those in power who unjustly oppress others who are different from them.

The Women’s March was only the start.

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