Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Saturday, September 22, 2018

A sea of pink

Half a million come to D.C. to protest the new administration

In what they declared an act of solidarity against President Donald Trump, hundreds of thousands of people, including many AU students, marched in the Women’s March on Washington in downtown D.C. today from dawn until early evening. Their message to the newly-inaugurated president on his first full day in office: “We’re not going away.”

Tenleytown Metro, 7:15 a.m.

Sophomore Annie Roebuck departed from the Tenleytown Metro station early in the morning with a group of friends from her AU club, She’s the First. The group chose to attend together because they felt their club’s goal, empowering girls through education, aligned with the march’s message.

By 9:30, she had “weaved” her way with a couple members of the group to be within viewing distance of the main stage at 3 Street and Independence Avenue, where she watched several speakers address the crowd beginning at 10 a.m.

“I was just taken by the whole experience,” Roebuck later told The Eagle. “I kept saying, ‘this is so exciting,’ ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe we’re here.’”

Students traveling from the Tenleytown Metro found themselves packed wall to wall with fellow demonstrators in Metro cars. The crowds only increased as the cars traveled closer to the downtown area, including later in the morning after 9 a.m. 

4 St. and Jefferson St., 9:30 a.m.

Fluharty carried a sign that read “My gender is not a burden,” as well as a list of names of people she is marching for. When asked on her expectations of the march, Fluharty was hopeful for the event.

“I expect a lot of men and women to come out, I’d say more than the inauguration,” Fluharty said waiting in the Tenleytown Metro stop. “I’m expecting a lot of people coming passionate and I think it’ll be peaceful.”

After getting off the redline at Gallery Place metro stop to transfer to go to L’Enfant Plaza, Fluharty raised her sign among the huge crowd.

“This is all because of Trump,” Fluharty said.

Along with Fluharty was freshman Megan Minnig. Minnig wore a shirt with the female reproductive system, a pin that said “Pussy Power” and carried a poster saying “Our rights aren’t up for grabs and neither are we.” 

Nearby the group, signs varied around them, including phrases such as “Fight like a girl,” “A woman’s place is in the resistance” and “Love trumps hate.”

Freshman Katie Malone came later, around 10 a.m. with a group of friends. She attended the rally and march because of her frustration with Trump and his supporters, she said.

“I’m here because I’m personally really frustrated with the decision of this country to put a man who represents hate and discrimination in our largest power position,” Malone said. “I think it’s really wrong and I’m here because a lot of Trump supporters [say they] don’t support that, but they’re not here helping us win the fights for women, for the LGBT community, for people of color.”

The rally inspired different chants, like “Black Lives Matter,” “Ready to go, fired up” and “No hate, no fear, everyone is welcome here.”

National Mall on Madison Dr. NW, 11:30 a.m.

Outside the rally on the Women’s March, protesters gathered along Madison Drive NW on the National Mall. Among protesters was the Natalie White For Equal Rights, “an interactive multimedia solo exhibition,” according to founder Natalie White.

White’s reason for being there was to promote and raise awareness for the Equal Rights Amendment (E.R.A.), a proposed amendment in the U.S. Constitution meant to guarantee equal rights to women. White stressed the importance of calling congresspersons to get the amendment passed.

During White’s speech, a young girl came up to White and started pounding her fist in the air in agreement.

“When this girl gets old enough to work I hope that she has equal pay as her brother right there and the only way we can get that is if we pass the Equal Rights Amendment,” White said to the public.

White asked the young girl to repeat “Show me what a feminist looks like.” The young girl repeated, and the crowd chanted back to her “This is what a feminist looks like.”

Area between Constitution and Independence Avenues, 1:20 p.m.

The march was so packed with demonstrators clad in pink, “pussy” hats, protesters could not march on the official route altogether. Many AU students stood in shoulder-to-shoulder crowds for several hours in the muddy area between Constitution and Independence Avenues waiting for the speakers on stage to finish talking and for the march to begin. However, unlike marchers closer to the stage, the speakers were out of view and earshot for them.

“It feels like a warm hug to be surrounded by all these people,” SIS sophomore Madison Musgrave told The Eagle after nearly an hour standing still in the crowd. “It’s really just good to know that there are other people who still care about each other even though sometimes, it doesn’t feel like that right now.”

Musgrave hosted four demonstrators from Arkansas in her East Campus dorm room the night before the event. She traveled to the march with friends Petra Hoke and Sam Stephens, both AU students.

“I have a lot of friends and family members who are at other marches throughout the country and even the world,” Hoke said. “I’m just glad we can all experience this at the same time, even though we are in different places.”

Following several chants of “less talk, more march,” the area crowd began slowly moving around 2:10 p.m. Demonstrators in the area later learned that the official march route was too crowded to protest as planned.

“We’re going through this time of change with the new president,” Hoke said. “There’s been so much negativity and I just really wanted to be somewhere where we are surrounded by positivity all the time. I think this is an awesome way to do it.”

15 St. and Pennsylvania Ave., 4:30 p.m.

Senior and AU Student Government Vice President Sam Vervaeke attended the Women’s March with her little sister from out of town after waking up at 4:30 a.m. for the event. Vervaeke said they had been at the event since 7 a.m. and the two stood by the rally stage for the march for a couple of hours.

Twelve hours later at 4:30 p.m., Vervaeke was on 15 St. and Pennsylvania Ave. marching alongside her sister.

Vervaeke attended the event for “many reasons,” but she stressed the importance to be active in events like this, beyond posting on social media.

When asked on why she was there, Vervaeke responded, “Why wouldn’t I be here I think is the right question.”

mcarrasco@theeagleonline.com and crozen@theeagleonline.com 


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