She’s the First marches into 2020
Activist organization She’s the First attends their first Women’s March as a University club
She’s the First, an activist organization at AU that raises funds for girls’ education, attended the fourth annual Women’s March in Washington for the first time as a University club on Jan. 18.
The group convened at 9 a.m. to head downtown with signs they prepared earlier in the week. The organization went to the march to spread their mission to provide young girls the opportunity to get an education.
“This march is important for She’s the First because our mission is spreading that message of women and education,” said Jenna Whitaker, the vice president of programming. “By being educated, they have more accessibility for success.”
Despite the cold and snow, members of the group said they felt a sense of community among the other protestors during the march.
“When you’re surrounded by people that have the same mindset as you and want to work together, you feel it,” said Hope D’Ovidio, a member of She’s the First. “When you all come together, you really feel it.”
D’Ovidio said that she marched to show support for women’s reproductive health and equal rights for men and women.
“I just want every woman to be able to have a safe abortion and I don’t know why feminine products aren’t free,” D’Ovidio said. “Virginia, two days ago, just decided that we can’t discriminate on the basis of sex.”
Julia Cronin, another member of She’s the First, said that she came to speak out against sexual assault.
“Rhetoric around sexual assault is a big one for me,” Cronin said. “The fact that not even just in the United States, there are still people in government still using excuses for why women have been raped or sexually assaulted, and that, to me, is like the most disgusting thing ever.”
Over the past few years, the founders of the March have been criticized for the lack of intersectionality and how that makes those who are not white and cisgender feel excluded from the movement. Jenna Whitaker, the vice president of She’s the First, acknowledged these concerns.
“There is always more progress that can be made,” Whitaker said. “I think the National Organization for Women is doing a great job at bringing more awareness to intersect women of color, intersectionality, gender and specifically reproductive rights as well.”
Whitaker also said that the march is all about equality, especially in terms of success, which directly relates to She’s the First’s message about providing educational opportunities for women to succeed.
“We want to partner with other organizations on campus and get more people educated on the issues that we stand for,” Whitaker said.
She’s the First hopes to make this a yearly attendance to continue spreading messages of female empowerment, according to Whitaker. The organization believes that attending the Women’s March was just one of the many steps they will take to do so.
“The fight is year-long, like you’re always fighting, but the march is the positive part because you’re surrounded by people who support what you’re fighting for,” Cronin said.