A Millennial's First Political Rally - Providence Women’s March
On Saturday, January 21st, I attended my very first political rally - the Providence Women's March. I honestly had no idea what to expect. My friend and I arrived at the South Lawn of the State House an hour early and were relieved to see a throng of pink-clad women and men meandering past tables displaying signs for recognizable social action groups. An hour later, the gathering would manifest itself into a powerful assemblage of people who collectively had a lot to say.
This presidential cycle held many firsts for me. It was the first time I was eligible to vote, which I did with the utmost confidence that the candidate I had chosen, Hillary Clinton, would be the 45th President of the United States. It was also the first time I had experienced that candidate losing. I felt comfort knowing the hordes of people gathered around me had endured the same crumbling upset as I had on November 8th, 2016. This is what unified us - the fact that we all had a lot to lose. It was the common ground beneath our feet.
I was entertained by the creativity of the signs I saw peppered above me, along with the cast of characters brandishing them. I was in the company of families, couples, and a whole lot of powerful and diverse women. I saw grandmothers holding “I support Planned Parenthood” signs and youngsters with DIY cardboard box signs with “Be more like Malala” eligible in their best marker handwriting. The beauty and unity of so many people in one place supporting each other feels powerful. Last Saturday, on a once-green law now an outwardly flamboyant pink, I felt like a part of the majority.
Once 1 pm rolled around, a handful of speakers were presented on the steps above the South Lawn. Being a 20 year old female at the towering height of 5’2” I naturally assumed I would have no visual contact with those speaking. Luckily for me a tall and lanky boyfriend or fiance stood in front of me, preventing me from seeing any of the proceedings. However, once the program commenced, he turned around, saw his shorter counterparts behind him, and knelt down for what would be the next hour. This subtle and quiet act of respect for the women around him was something that stood out. It echoed the actions and mannerisms of every male present in the audience; it was overwhelming and refreshing.
The most impressive speaker that day was our governor, Gina Raimondo, the first female governor in the state of Rhode Island. Her words were tastefully chosen and her presence as a public speaker was quite captivating. She spoke eloquently about our need for unity and activism in this confusing time. One of the important messages she repeated was the reminder that women make up half of this country. We must not forget that. She ended her speech with the powerful MLK jr quote: “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”
This election may end up being a travesty on our history. However, Donald Trump could do us women a great justice by unifying us against his sexist oppression. Women are the key to environmental and social justice. Because for every “Trump is not my President” sign I saw a “No DAPL” sign or a “#GreenLivesMatter” sign. These are the issues we care about, the issues we get fired up about. Let’s use these next four years to remind America we are women and we are powerful.