Sexism is an illness that has plagued society since the beginning of time. It exists in our media, festers within the minds of many, and extends to every corner of the world. It has been the motive of countless rapes and acts of violence, and has confined women into an inescapable cage. The liberties and freedoms that have been granted to women in recent history have lulled the general public into a false sense of security, that allows most to turn a blind eye at accounts of discrimination and violence. However, with the election of a president that has a history of objectifying and assaulting women and the rise of sexual abuse claims in Hollywood, the issue of sexism is no longer something comfortably swept under the rug.
On January 20th, 2018, millions of people from across the world hit the streets to march against sexism and its perpetrators. These protests took place in areas as close as Morristown and New York City, and served as an outlet for people to channel their post-election anger into action. Celebrities such as Viola Davis and Natalie Portman brought people to their feet with their thought provoking and shocking speeches and sparked feelings of empowerment that flooded the hearts of those who attended.
Among the 200,000 protesters who marched the streets of New York City were eight members of MLHS’s Young Democrats, as well as many other individuals from Mountain Lakes and surrounding towns. The club members made posters, coordinated schedules and took the bus into the city early in the morning to take part in the protest. Being greeted by hundreds of others flooding the sidewalks bearing matching pink hats and colorful posters stirred instant feelings of kinship and unity.
The march took place around Columbus Circle and past Trump International Hotel & Tower and the marchers were comprised of a wonderfully diverse group of people. Little kids sat on the shoulders of parents, men showed up in numbers almost equal to the women, and there were even a few dogs sighted with pink hats. Donovan Menard expressed his excitement to see “people of all races, genders, and ages come together for this event.” Liz McNaughton, who attended the march in Morristown shared that the number of children in attendance “gave [her] hope for the future.”
Marchers shouted through megaphones, played drums, wrote in chalk on the street in front of the front tower, encouraged each other’s ideas, and raised their voices together for chants that could be heard across great distances throughout the crowd. Megan Beik described the event as “a surreal experience – seeing so many people in the same place, fighting for the same beliefs was very inspiring.”
In comparison to the 2017 Women’s March, the 2018 March seemed less motivated by outrage over the current administration and more focused on cultivating a hopeful outlook towards the future. As Donovan Menard remarked, “participants were frequently encouraged to look to the future and use their votes to elect new government officials who will always keep women, minorities, and immigrants in mind in the upcoming 2018 mid-term elections.”
Individuals around the world who participated in this demonstration, or endorsed the movement in other ways, seek to support women in an effort to secure justice for all.
The Young Democrats already has plans to attend the NYC March for Science on Earth Day, April 22.