Molly Gleydura

Age 18

Cleveland, OH

Around a million people from different walks of life came together on a chilly January weekend in Washington DC to stand up for women’s rights and protest against sexism, racism, misogyny, Islamophobia, homophobia, xenophobia, and other forms of bigotry. Throughout the election season, our new President Donald Trump made comments that provoked fear in the minds of minority and majority groups alike.

Today, women make up the majority of the US population, yet they still are not considered (or at least are not treated as) equals. Women flaunted signs highlighting their disbelief that they continue to have to protest against gender inequality. The fact that there had to be posters outlining that “Women’s rights are human rights!” demonstrates a problem in itself. If the majority of the population has to gather, march, and chant to make their voices heard and get their point across, there are massive issues within society. Despite the fear, anger, and disbelief that pervades this society today, people (not only women) of every nationality, sexual orientation, social class, etc. came together to make history last weekend.

January 21, 2017 was one of the best experiences I have ever had. I have never been prouder to call myself a girl alongside all of my united sisters. After the election, I was devastated. I understand that 17 years is not a long time to have faced the realities of our world, but never in my life would I have thought that someone like Donald Trump, could take power over our country. I have spent the last 4 months delivering Michelle Obama’s speech endorsing Hillary Clinton for Speech and Debate tournaments, and I believed her with all my heart when she said Hillary Clinton would shatter the glass ceiling once and for all. However, it is clear that we all need to step up with our hammers and help her out. That is what this march was. We will not stop until we are marching on broken glass.

The fear that I felt on the night of November 8th has now been replaced with pride and hope for the future. I do not think that our protest will change the ways of our President, but our country has fail-safes and checks and balances to ensure that no one will become too powerful. We will not be silenced. We will not quietly comply with being treated as if we are less than what we are worth. We will use our voices. I have hope because our cause is not lost. If anyone ever feels alone, know that there are literally millions of people worldwide who supported the march’s cause and support your beliefs.

Look at any picture of the march, and you will see a picture of democracy. Throughout the world, not one person was arrested while making their voice heard last weekend. Generations of families stood up. Grandmothers marched for their daughters, who marched, in turn, for their own daughters – girls, who hopefully won’t have to march in the future. One woman, mid-march, gave birth to a baby girl, or should I say, a “nasty woman”. We were able to stand tall because we were standing on the shoulders of all of the women who came before us. We represented the popular vote. A popular vote that will not tolerate 4 years of intolerance. We must continue to stand united because some wise ladies once said, “We are always stronger together.”

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