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In their own words: SDSU students, alumni march for women in San Diego

Marchers+at+the+San+Diego+Women%27s+March%2C+Jan.+21%2C+2017.
Marchers at the San Diego Women's March, Jan. 21, 2017.

Marchers at the San Diego Women's March, Jan. 21, 2017.

Emily Alavarenga

Emily Alavarenga

Marchers at the San Diego Women's March, Jan. 21, 2017.

by Emily Alvarenga, Staff Columnist

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Three million people came together in Women’s Marches across the globe on Saturday, Jan. 21, one day after the Inauguration of President Donald Trump. Many people, including Trump, believed these rallies were women simply protesting his inauguration.

“Watched protests yesterday but was under the impression that we just had an election! Why didn’t these people vote?” Trump asked on Twitter.

This remark is a slap in the face to all those who marched, undermining the importance of their cause. People marched for many different reasons, every one of which was more important than simply protesting their new president.

This march symbolized much more than that. It was, as the protester’s signs highlighted in bright colors, about equal rights for women, the LGBT community, minority groups and immigrants, about health care and the right to abortion, about environmental protection and about stricter gun laws, to name a few.

The march was for everything they believe to be threatened under the new Trump administration. And it was exactly this that drove them to march, calling on their representatives in Congress for the first time asking them to keep the new administration in check.

Thousands of San Diego State students, staff and alumni attended the march in San Diego. In their own words, this is why they marched:

“I attended the Women’s March because I wanted to show support for the women’s community of San Diego and around the nation. The women’s march not only represented women, it represented people of all genders and races regardless of their political platforms. We came together to show support for issues that may or may not be affected by the new legislation. The march unified people of different backgrounds, and I felt empowered marching and chanting alongside others.”

– Tess Smolders, 18, business finance

“I disagree with most of the goals and ideologies that the majority of the newly elected and appointed government have. I believe environmental protection should be a priority for our government. I also support equal rights and treatment of all our brothers and sisters, despite their race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. I believe in a woman’s right to make her own choices about her reproductive organs. So I marched on Saturday to show the government just how many of us passionately care about these issues. To let them know that if they want to mess with the environment or human rights, they are going to be fighting millions of Americans. They are in office to represent us, and these marches were to show them what we care about. I hope it inspired people to know they are not alone in their fight for a more beautiful America. And I hope they are inspired to keep marching, keep standing up, keep calling and emailing their representatives and to keep pushing forward. We all need each other. For support, for backup and to keep the power in the people’s hands! This is what it takes to keep making our country beautiful.”

– Joleyne Lambert, 21, journalism

“The Women’s march was truly an eye-opening and empowering experience. It was touching to see men, women and children of different ages, races and backgrounds come together in a peaceful way to stand up for what they believed in. I felt like I was part of something bigger than myself, yet also felt that even though I am one individual, I can make a difference in the community and the world. The Women’s March represented a group of people who feel that women’s rights are being threatened in this country and around the world. It was a demonstration that showed we will not be silenced until we are all treated equally.”

– Nikki Sachman, 23, SDSU alumnus

“The rights of many are at risk right now, and it’s a scary time. The Women’s March came to represent more than just feminism, but people willing to step up and take part in democracy for equality and fair treatment for everyone. And it ended up being used as a platform to speak for all other groups and issues at risk. I felt like I was surrounded by good people. I was surrounded by thousands and thousands of people that just care about other people and are willing to take a stand.”

– Becky Kremer, 22, special education

“For me the march represented not just women’s rights, but all human rights and every single group of people that feels threatened by this new administration. Healthcare is a very important issue for me. At my job with Rady Children’s, I work every day with children who have a variety of developmental delays and disorders. These families benefit immensely from the affordable care act, which our new administration has plans to repeal. So I marched for them, to stand up for their rights to basic health needs and access to care. I also marched for the large portion of minority families that I have the privilege of working with. I am very proud of the work I do, and will always stand up for the children and families that I serve.”

– Elizabeth Gallagher, 22, SDSU alumnus

“I loved attending the march, it made me really hopeful for the future. I felt better knowing there are so many people who had similar concerns and are dedicated to fighting for our civil rights. I went to the Women’s March to support women all over the world. To show that no matter where we come from we all deserve basic human rights, and to show that I support women’s rights including reproductive justice and health. I also went to acknowledge that women are still not equal in our country. Overall, I think it showed unity of women and the American people coming together to make a statement that we care about the civil rights of all Americans!”

– Melissa Benik, 21, political science

“I attended the Women’s March because as a social work student it is our job to serve and help support oppressed populations including women, ethnic minorities, LGBTQ, immigrants, etc. Because of the change in president, it’s important now more than ever that we stand up for these individuals who may not have the resources to stand up for themselves. I wanted to show my support for not only women’s rights but the rights of all people. Seeing not only women, but men and young children support the cause was so inspirational, and it gave me hope that the world really isn’t all bad and that not all people are selfish. It also inspired me to continue to stand up for what I think is right and to help others who may not be able to help themselves.”

– Melanie Nikowitz, 24, graduate student social work

“I attended the march because I felt that it was my duty to stand up for what I believed in, and if I wanted to complain about politics, then I needed to do so knowing that I’m not just sitting on my butt not making a difference. I think the march really brought women together and made me feel like, as a group, we can conquer and overcome anything that gets in our way. It was reassuring to know that many women felt equally or more outraged by the inequalities we have in today’s society. The march made me feel less self-conscious about how I view myself as a woman and motivated me to try to become more involved in efforts for women’s rights.”

– Rachel Paul, 19, interdisciplinary studies

“I attended the Women’s March because I believe in equality for all people and I am against the oppression of any individual or group, and I think it is important to demonstrate that belief in a time when our country appears so divided. I felt like the Women’s March truly did demonstrate this belief, that we are all equal and deserve to be treated as such. It felt very empowering and it was an experience filled with hope for the future.”

– Catherine Cochran, 21, political science

“The Women’s March was not just about women’s rights here in the United States, but rather all across the globe. People were marching on all seven continents, including Antarctica, so I think the Women’s March overall represented solidarity. I was so happy to see a diverse group of people all coming together for the same goal — equality. I was not expecting the march to be as big as it was, especially here in San Diego. There was everyone from elementary school kids to senior citizens who attended. It’s times like these where I am proud to live in a country that truly believes in freedom of speech.”

— Sabina Dhillon, 21, criminal justice & political science double major

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