On January 20, Alma students took part in the Women’s March in different cities to exercise their first amendment right to free speech. The McCurdy House assisted students in getting to Lansing for the march on Michigan State University’s campus.
Colleen Loftus (’21) and Eryn Corinth (’21)were leaders in helping set up the trip to Lansing. Eight people traveled together to join the march. While this was Loftus’s first, it was Corinth’s third march of this kind. The others who went had an assortment of experience marching for human rights in this way.
Even though the main march this year was being held in Detroit, there was interest expressed from the public to hold another march in the capitol city. The march was from the MSU Union building to the Hannah Administration building where there were speakers, including the new governor, Gretchen Whitmer.
“People are agreeing [with Whitmer]. There were cheers. There were chants. In the moment you are like,this is why I’m doing it because I’m not alone in this,” says Loftus when describing listening to Whitmer speak. Being around others with the same goal and wanting the same improvements was inspiring to many march-goers.
Women’s equality was not the only thing topic spoken about at the march. There was also mention about LGBTQ equality and rights, as well as the current government shut down. This showed the greater conscious of what is going on politically.
There was a large range of ages from younger women with their parents to college students and older. “It makes a point. People will hear about people meeting up in a large group and see why are… they are more willing to look into it and consider another side,”says Loftus. It opens the rest of the community’s eyes to what is going around them.
Students also participated in marches in other cities around the state. Chelsea Faber (’21) traveled to Traverse City to march for her first time. “So many individuals have worked towards this goal in the past century, and us, being the next voting age generation, need to continue this movement through advocacy and voting,” says Faber, acknowledging the importance of being involved.
The Women’s March brings people together about topics that they care about. Faber stated that her favorite part was seeing the number of people that gathered to advocate for what they care about, despite it being so cold.
There is still a call for improvements from the government. Corinth hopes that the government will be held responsible for their actions at that more women and minorities will be elected. Faber also hopes for the election of more women, but also to see more women in science related fields.
By advocating for rights and participating in protests, people’s voices can be heard and ask for change.In order for change to happen, people are recommending continuing action and advocacy in their communities. There has been a lot of progress, but people still are wishing for more in many areas, not just women’s rights.
“My biggest take away from the march was that we have made advances, but we still have more to go,” says Corinth. This sums up the general feeling that while the political system is improving with the election of more women into the government there is still room for improvement.
The first Women’s March was January 21, 2017 in Washington D.C., the day after President Trump was inaugurated. It was a way for people to come together and fight against the president’s comments as well as inequalities. It was the largest single day protest in United States history.