August 21, 2017

Wellesley joins millions to protest the election of Donald Trump

By Shannon Chaffers '18, Opinions Editor

Protesters in Washington D.C. made sure their voices were heard at the Women’s March on Washington. Photo courtesy of Olivia Eburne.

The signs were witty: “we shall overcomb.” They were defiant: “I’m with her.” And they demanded to be heard: “Earth. Justice. Now,” one said. “Respect women,” said another.

The day after President Donald Trump was sworn into office this past Friday, millions of people joined together, signs in tow, at various Women’s Marches to show solidarity against the ideals of the new president and his cabinet. Although the flagship march took place in Washington D.C., people from across the country and around the globe came out to voice their concerns about the direction of the country.

Boston hosted its own Women’s March, which drew over 175,000 people. Among those who attended were Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and State Attorney General Maura Healey. Warren urged the protesters to reject the attacks on immigrants, African-Americans, Latinos, and religious groups. “We believe that sexism, racism, homophobia, and bigotry have no place in this country,” she said.

Many students at the high school also attended these marches, including Meilani Ching ’18, who journeyed to Boston with fellow classmates Taylor McClennen ’18 and Ellie Kinney ’18. Ching feels there has been an increasing level of intolerance in the country that coincided with the election of President Trump. “I wanted to take a stand against groups seeking to dismantle the moral fabric of our nation,” she said.

Ching felt that the atmosphere of the march was positive and reassuring. “Being surrounded by so many like-minded people the day after the inauguration… showed me that there is a large group of people who won’t allow [their] rights to be taken without a fight,” she said.

Not everyone stayed in Boston, however. Olivia Eburne ’18, along with her mother and her friend Grace Lindquist ’20, was one of many Wellesley residents who made the trip to the flagship march in Washington D.C. It was an eventful journey for the trio, who encountered the large crowds of people going to the march.

“On the drive down and back, every highway rest stop we stopped at was packed with people who were [either] going or had gone to the march,” Eburne said. The metro was so busy that their group ended up taking an Uber to get to D.C. from where they stayed in Arlington, Virginia.

The size of the protest inspired Eburne throughout her time at the march. “The crowd was too big to really comprehend,” she said. “But knowing that the entire street in front of you, and every side street was filled with people who all thought the same things you did was really incredible.” She also reflected on the atmosphere of the march, saying it “was [one] of a resolved determination. It was comforting, and filled me with hope.”

Eburne, who wanted to prove that the critics of Trump couldn’t be silenced, believed the posters many of the marchers made aptly delivered this message. “[The signs] made some serious points, and conveyed them with humor. The diversity of the signs also struck me,” she said. “Although the majority of the signs were about women’s rights, there were many signs that addressed other issues, such as immigrant rights, the rights of people of color, and climate change.”

Although Eburne recognizes that the results of the election cannot be altered, she felt comfort in voicing her opinions at the march. “I learned that protests don’t have to change things immediately, but sometimes it’s comforting just to shout and know that your voice is heard,” she said.

It was not just students protesting either. Teachers and parents also made their way to the march, including Kate Badertscher, parent of Olivia Badertscher ’18. Like Ching and Eburne, Badertscher said she was “very concerned about the tone and the rhetoric of the election and treatment of women and minorities and people with disabilities and veterans.”

Badertscher described the atmosphere as powerful and invigorating, saying the march “decreased the hopelessness and helplessness that I have been feeling about this situation,” she said.

And the message that rang true in this march, according to Badertscher, was that “this country is all of ours and it’s important that if you feel strongly about something, you show up and express what your thoughts are.”

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