The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
January 21, 2017: a day of empowerment, not protest. A day that taught me you can retweet, reblog, and “like” all the New York Times, Planned Parenthood, and Bernie Sanders posts you want, but until you take the time out of your Saturday to march with your fellow women on behalf of women who had to work that day, teenagers who couldn’t vote in this last election or girls who have yet to be born, you have not pushed yourself far enough. Technically media outlets are calling what happened this past Saturday a “protest” but if you were there, you know that it was a unification fueled by discontentment. It was refreshing to know that millions of people’s activism extends beyond social media. Saturday taught me there is always more you can do. You can always be louder. You can lead by example when you think no one is watching or when you think you aren’t speaking loud enough for people to hear you. That’s how chants start.
“When they go low, we go high.”
“Racist, sexist, anti-gay, Donald Trump go away.”
Call: “Show me what a feminist looks like.” Response: “This is what a feminist looks like.”
“Move Trump, get out the way.”
“We want a leader, not a creepy tweeter.”
Someone hears you shouting to the best of your ability and they join you. That is how a movement is created even if it is just through the crowd. The little girls in strollers or on their mother’s shoulders are watching and chanting with you. They have a voice that has been awakened by the present political climate and their hands are held by their mothers who enable and empower them. When they look out, they are at eye level with people’s backs and butts. But when you look out, you can see further up in the crowd. You can see the future you deserve and the one you want for the women around you. So you march.
There is no such thing as powerlessness. As a junior in college, certain reforms (or lack thereof), such as those pertaining to public education, will not affect me directly. But I have nephews, a sister going off to college in the fall, and a little girl in a pink pussy knit hat marching next to me. The next four years must be an era of selflessness. There is no room for complacency, and intersectionality has never been more pertinent. During the Women’s March in New York City, there were all types of signs. There were the expected ones about Planned Parenthood, equal pay, and women owning the rights to their bodies. But Black Lives Matter, immigration, and queer rights also took the stage. Posters advocating for ecofeminism, defined as: the domination of women and the domination of nature are structurally linked and share roots in the logic of science and capitalism, through inciting the newly elected president to acknowledge climate control.
So if you didn’t march on January 21, 2017, don’t worry. The march is not over. Call your local representatives every day and tell them what you want from them. Make sure they voice issues that matter to you. Get involved in local government and enable neighbors with your same ideals to rise to higher levels of government. Have the same electric mentality as women at the march. Listen to your fellow women about their everyday struggles in the domestic, academic, and professional spheres and offer compassion, encouragement, and advice. To stay silent is not only choosing the side of the oppressor but also inhibiting the energy and momentum created this weekend.