NYC Women's March from a Student Perspective
On Saturday, January 21st, my friends and I participated in the New York City Women’s March. If you had asked me a few years ago to attend a march or protest, I probably wouldn't have attended. But now, as a sociology major at Barnard, my views on the importance of political activism have clearly changed. And I’m glad these views drove me to participate in such a historic event.
Before the march, there was a buzz around campus - it seemed as if everyone had marked off their calendars and was making plans. The night before, my friends and I spent hours in our suite blasting music from a “Girl Power” playlist and painting our signs for the march. Choosing what to put on a sign was a new experience that held a lot of gravity for me - I found myself struggling to find a perfect, inter-sectional, inclusive saying (but, as I’m sure everyone has seen online, there were tons of creative sign slogans I didn’t think of). This complicated struggle to decide on a slogan that conveyed my values was 100% of a reflection of the values I’d learned from my Barnard courses, like Sociology of Gender, Equality Between the Sexes, The Social World, Inequalities in US Law and Society, etc. and so forth.
The morning of the march, my friends and I went to the Barnard gates to get free donuts, snack bars, and coffee from our wonderful SGA (Student Government Association). Afterwards, we hopped on the 1 train and followed the pink Pussyhats (co-created by Barnard alumna Krista Suh!!) down to the Grand Central area, where the starting point was. Even though we arrived around 10:30am, we were pretty much in a standstill for at least an hour due to crowding. We (and, clearly, the organizers as well) did not expect so many people to show up, but being in such a massive crowd of people fighting for women’s rights and equality was such a moving, once-in-a-lifetime experience. And, of course, the hilariously creative signs along the way provided some entertainment.
Despite the endpoint of the New York march being Trump Tower, the march wasn’t about the current administration - it was about women, all of the multi-faceted issues women face, and how we as a society can take steps to work on those issues. While the plethora of specific issues within women’s rights cannot be glossed over, the concept of a “women’s march” drew so many people because it invited all women and supporters (over half of the general population) to speak up for themselves and their specific challenges. I am proud to have attended and taken part in such an important social and political dialogue, and can attribute this new-found willingness to participate to my Barnard education.
As always, feel free to reach out with comments and questions!
Deena Cohen ‘18