I see a girl, about 5 years old, in a blue “Girl Power” shirt. Her blue and red flower crown, echoes the tiny American flag which she is waving in her hand. The girl is there, in the Greater Columbus Convention Center, sitting with her mom, listening to all the speeches that provoke people’s excitements for the march that is going to happen in one hour. She may be too young to understand what is going to happen. But, by the way she dances in her chair, I know she is ready for the march.
On January 20th, 2018, one year after the worldwide Women’s March starts, Women’s March Ohio organizes a march in Columbus. This Women’s March, is a strong gathering and presenting of civils’ opinions and thus, an effective resistance to democratic erosions in United States.
I have participated in the rally in the Greater Columbus Convention Center before the march. Socialist Alternative in Columbus, partners with Women’s March Ohio, bring in a lot of wonderful speakers—-some powerful women to talk about why march and civil engagement matter.
Noni Banks, the district 19 democratic candidate for Ohio State House of Representative in this year’s midterm election is one of the speaker in the rally. With her presence and the many of the audiences who have different minority backgrounds, the rally really becomes a rally for all. Candidate Banks talks about the intersectionality in feminism, and mentions that we will march for all genders, all ethnicities and ages. She sets the tone of this march by saying it is a march for common goods of all civilians. I am encouraged by her words for I realize how much power we have. If all people matter in this march, the dissidents of the march, of the actions to strive for rights and democracy are just minorities. I have faith in majority of us to effectively resist the dissidents of women rights, and to effectively resist the democratic backsliding.
Council Women Elizabeth Brown also shows up in the rally. She is always someone who is so passionate about women’s right. Earlier this year, Council Women Brown just helps to promote the providing of free tampons and pads on the campus of The Ohio State University. As a women role model in political field, she starts to discuss about the importance of voting, and encourages everyone to vote in the midterm election. As she mentions, if anyone is unhappy about the turnout of last Presidential Election in 2016, then please use the votes to protest it, and use the march against it. Her voice is gentle but the massage carried is firm.
The appealing characteristics of Council Women Brown, with the peaceful natures of this rally and march, lower the entry and cost this Women’s March and thus, attract more people to join together in this nonviolent protest. I figure that’s why so many elders and young children also present in the rally and march down with us on the streets. Without violence, the rally becomes more educational rather than political for children. And the march becomes more of a protest instead of rebel for elders. For every elder who march, there is a legacy of equality being passed down. For every child who march, there is a seed of democracy being planted in their heart. No more violence and tensions contained, this Women’s March is pure civil engagement which welcome all people to effectively counter democratic erosion.
The innovation aspects in the rally before the march also increase the efficiency for the march to counter any democratic erosion and women rights violation. In the rally, a group of high school students who form a feminist club in their school is brought on the stage to talk about their inspiring experiences of engaging in feminist battles. An 11 years old Africa American girl sings us a song which ask for equality. These are the moments that people will never forget. And these are the moments that will constantly motivate people to fight for liberty and equality.
Not until I leave the conventional center after the rally ends, do I realize how massive this Women’s March is. People are crowding in the street, holding their signs and shouting out the slogans to back up their beliefs of equal rights. It’s a real live version of Do You Hear the People Sing. The size of the Women’s March, the years it will last ensure the bright future that will bring by this nonviolence protest. And I know it wouldn’t be long for the march to make progress, because all the marchers will not just stay in the place they start. Every step forward is a step of people marching towards equality. I deeply believe that Women’s March that is existed because of democratic erosion will be a strong resistance of it. I have already take my first step to march in Ohio.
Featured Image photoed by: Lei Guo
JULIA NICOLE ROBINSON
I appreciate the passion you illustrated in your words emphasizing the power of the Women’s Marches. However, I have some questions regarding their combat to the democratic erosion, and whether this is a case of democratic erosion. I understand a part of being in a democracy means that public officials should provide facts and explanations for questionable actions, and civilians should have the power to hold them accountable for their actions. I was wondering if you considered that marches to be the public’s way of holding politicians accountable for their actions, or do the marches prove instrumental in some other way combating democratic erosion? Also, I would like to ask for clarification of what exactly is regressing democratically in the context of your article. I understand that civil rights and liberties should not be violated, as that is a staple of the democratic pillar, however, I am wondering where this restriction is drawn. Is it that women should have a right to make choices that alter life or death, or is it that they should have equal representation in making those choices? Regardless, I am not sure if this is a clear incident of democratic erosion, but I do believe that it has the potential to lead to one.
ESTHER NGOZIKA EKWUEME
This post was enlightening as well as intriguing. I really enjoyed reading it and agree with the points you’ve made. I believe it is important for young girls to attend these marches and meeting even though they may not fully understand because at least the seed of fighting for women’s rights is planted in them. I also agree with the fact that in order to truly obtain women’s rights, it has to be an intersectional battle that’s fought to advocate for all women, races, and genders. Acknowledging, advocating, and fighting for the intersectionality of femininity is what I believe will truly bring about change. It’s unfortunate that as women we still have to fight for equality, but their’s beauty in the struggle in it that women of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, colors, ages and more come together for one cause. A woman can do absolutely anything, but there’s great power in what many women can do collectively.
I really enjoyed reading your post. I hope you had as much fun writing it as I did reading!