Gender Equality Advocates Plan a Women’s March on Washington
by Jack Sullivan on Friday, January 13th, 2017
On August 28th, 1963, over two hundred thousand people converged in Washington D.C. for what is perhaps the most famous political rally in American history. According to The History Channel, this rally, formally known as “The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom,” aimed to spread awareness of civil inequality. It aimed to persuade Washington officials to pass the Civil Rights Act in order to protect the rights of black citizens and other minorities.
This march, which proceeded peacefully and lawfully, became a huge success. The movement not only led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act, which delivered greater equality for all races by outlawing discrimination, but also increased awareness of social injustice in America. In fact, Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech, one of the most famous speeches in modern history, overlooking the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool.
Fast-forward 53 years, 4 months, and 24 days, and the Capital will see a new march: The Women’s March on Washington (WMW for short). Planned for 10:00 a.m. on January 21, 2017 — the day after president-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration — the Women’s March on Washington will start at the intersection of Independence Avenue and Third St. SW. Over 100,000 people have signed up to march as of January 3rd, according to The Washington Post. Many more people will participate in the hundreds of “sister marches” worldwide.
Following the inauguration of President-elect Donald J. Trump, all of these protesters will march against hateful rhetoric. The march aims to “send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights,” according to the movement’s website.
While The March for Jobs and Freedom and The Women’s March are separated by over half a century, there are many similarities between the two rallies. For example, both take place in Washington D.C., are expected to have about 200,000 people attending, approximated by USA Today, and are peaceful protests for civil rights. “The Women’s March on Washington” was originally called the “Million Women’s March,” but the event organizers changed the name as a nod to the march in 1963.
Although the WMW has good intentions, it has sparked some controversy. For example, the name “Women’s March” suggests that the march is exclusively for women. Although many women feel that they have been damaged by the rhetoric of the election cycle, many others, including immigrants, ethnic minorities, and those of the LGBTQ+ community, appear to be left out. So by marching exclusively for women’s rights, some feel that the WMW is unfairly leaving others out.
Unfortunately for any Milton Academy students interested in participating, marching in Washington D.C. might be a stretch. Ginny Barrett (IV) says, “I have always wanted to have the ability to march and actually make a difference. However, I am not able to go on the Women’s March because exams happen on the week after the march, and my parents decided it was more important that I spent my time studying rather than marching.”
The Academic Skills Center would agree. In its exam study plan, Milton Academy’s ASC recommends that on the date of the march, Saturday, January 21, students study for four hours and fifteen minutes and get a healthy good night’s sleep. Even though it’s possible to go to D.C. on January 21, it would definitely be a difficult decision for a Milton Academy student. Yet, people like Ginny who really want to participate in some sort of march could get a ride into Boston’s “Sister March,” a closer, smaller march on the same date and time.
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