Last Saturday, a group of about 20 students from the Gender Politics Club at Old Rochester Regional High School took to the streets of Providence for the 2018 Women’s March. The local students were among the thousands that had gathered to stand up for women’s rights and equality.
Senior Alice Bednarczyk spoke on one of the reasons participating in such an event was important.
“We’re literally being part of history. I feel like it’s similar to being a suffragette or being a part of MLK’s walks, but in a smaller sense,” said Bednarczyk. “It’s something I’m passionate about and something I care for.”
Bednarczyk continued, “When I participate, I’m putting myself at the forefront of history because being a part of an organized march is a big deal; it’s a protest. In twenty, forty, sixty years, I’ll be hearing about this time in history and I’ll be able to say, ‘Oh yeah, I went to a march,’ and I can say I partook in history.”
Along with others from her group, this was Bednarczyk’s first year going to one of the marches. One of the club’s co-founders, Bella Rodrigues, noted some of the differences between the two years.
“Last year, everyone was outraged, but this year everyone knew the drill and instead of panicking, we organized. We were focusing more on the good than just the outrage of Trump,” Rodrigues said. “It was great to see how nice and polite everyone was once again, asking if kids could see better and complimenting signs. Even the traffic cop thanked us for being patient and everyone waiting thanked him. It was just such a welcoming environment!”
Club member and senior Ethan Mort was also present at the march.
“My favorite part of the march has to be that despite being ‘The Women’s March,’ you saw all walks of life there. Using the Women’s March as an umbrella, you also could see all types of political activism there,” said Mort. “Of course, women’s rights was a big point, but there’s also homosexual and transgender rights being advocated along with support for Universal Healthcare, DACA, and other progressive legislation.”
“I loved marching to the State House with everybody,” said one of the club’s co-founders, Katie MacLean. “It was such an amazing feeling to walk with people who have the same beliefs and hopes as you do for women and gender rights. I marched right next to the band that was playing and it was so cool! We chanted and sang songs and it was such a beautiful experience.”
Maclean added that it was empowering to hear all the women speak at the rally.
“They all had so much to say about all the issues that we need to fix and that ‘We the People’ can change,” said Maclean. “It was extremely educational and I learned so much while I was there.”
Bednarczyk noted that, although the guest speakers at the Providence rally were not the most well-known because of its smaller scale than other state capitals, it was important for as many women as possible to have been there, “Because it showed that there were people who were there to support something they believed in,” Bednarczyk said.
“It was good to hear people speak about what they’ve done to support other’s rights, and what individuals can do, too,” Bednarczyk said. “It was all very eye-opening and inspiring.”
By Jo Caynon