Golden Perspectives: ‘What inspired you to participate in the Women’s March?’

Cecilia G. Hernandez, Writer

Women’s March Chicago: 300,000 strong, NEIU shows solidarity

“A village united shall never be divided!” chanted women and allies in the second Women’s March on Jan. 20 at Millenium Park. After President Trump’s inauguration last year, millions of people protested and crowded the streets all over the nation. This year, 300,000 women and allies in Chicago continued the protest for women’s rights, beating the 250,000 of last year. Some of these people included NEIU students, staff, and faculty.

Here’s what some of them had to say about it:

Golden Perspectives: “What inspired you to participate in the Women’s March?”

Elisa Salgado (Junior) – “President Trump [and his cabinet] inspired me. If you look at our history – it’s been taking too long to give basic human rights to women, and even now in 2018, we still see this pushback when it comes to reproductive justice. A lot of people think, ‘Oh, what is a march going to cause? It’s not going to change anything.’ But we have to remember that it’s a demonstration to show Congress, and these men who are making decisions on our reproductive rights, that we’re not just going to sit back and watch. Heck – if we have to take it to the streets, to our senators, to our legislators – we need to push elected officials to be accountable to the people. I wanted to unite in that feeling of raising awareness because women of color and the trans community keep facing gender issues.”

Virginia Sandstrom (Graduate Student and SLD Customer Services) – “I was there last year, too, and it was so amazing; I was just fired up. We need to stand up, we need to fight back, we need to rise up and we need our voices heard. If we keep speaking up, maybe they’ll start to listen to us. Seeing so many walks of life being involved was so uplifting and empowering and inspiring. I chose to raise my children in Chicago because of the diversity, it’s so vibrant. It’s really important to me that we’re all together in this life, in this world, and there are so many issues that are talked about and demonstrated about during the march like world peace, Planned Parenthood, and the #MeToo movement. Just about everything we’re trying to hold onto to maintain our dignity in life, people are having to fight for that now and it’s really – it’s not right. We shouldn’t have to be fighting for this. Instead, we’re going backwards with our political horrors that are happening today. It’s very important that we don’t let them ignore us.”

Jannedh Lema (Senior) – “I wanted to empower myself and other women because, you know what? We’re not alone.There were other women here at NEIU who were going so I was like, ‘I want to go, too.’ I want our allies to know I’m here, I want to make a change. One of the purposes of the Women’s March is to let everyone know we’re here, we know things aren’t right, and we’re going to make a move, we’re going to change it whether they want it or not. We’re not by ourselves – we have allies that are even males, and we’re here to change things.”  

Dr. Nancy A. Matthews (Justice Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies Professor) – “I am a long, long time feminist, activist and I have gone to many, many marches over the years. I went to the one last year after the inauguration because, you know, we needed to be out there. It was such an amazing, uplifting experience to see the response to the Trump presidency. So this year, when it came around again, there was no way I was going to miss it. So I went with a group of friends and … it helps you get energized again to maintain your commitment to the causes. I think one of the things that was beautiful about this march was that it wasn’t just about women’s issues narrowly defined, you know. There were signs about immigration, there were signs about racism, There was intersectionality. That’s really important to me as an activist and it was really good to have people come together and express that.”