Marching A Step Closer To Equality

Women Rising marches in the nation's capitol to fight for women's equality

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Marching A Step Closer To Equality

A protestor holds a sign declaring peace and no war before the Women's March starts.

A protestor holds a sign declaring peace and no war before the Women's March starts.

Fiona Flynn

A protestor holds a sign declaring peace and no war before the Women's March starts.

Fiona Flynn

Fiona Flynn

A protestor holds a sign declaring peace and no war before the Women's March starts.

By Fiona Flynn, Wentzville Liberty High School

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The fight for global peace and civil rights for every person has been a persistent battle since the 1940’s. From peaceful protests to colorful posters plastered around your community, office building or school, the movement is well known across the world. On Jan. 18, Women Rising, an organization that was founded in 2013 to create content and experiences to empower women and girls, didn’t hesitate to come forward and march for their rights.

The morning itself was bitter cold, hitting just below 30°F with gustful winds eating through your clothes, no matter how many layers you were wearing.

The day itself was grey, the skies filled with heavy dark clouds, snow and sleet destined to fall in just a few hours. It was a day where one would stay inside, stowed away under the covers with a warm cup of hot chocolate. However, the outside conditions did not deter the minds, nor the confidence of the protesters in Women Rising, their voices ringing through the streets and echoing off the buildings of the capitol city.

Fiona Flynn
The march carried enthusiastically through the streets, various slogans being shouted amongst the masses.

Their message rang clear for all to hear in the bleak streets, now completely filled with an estimate of 10,000 participants, inviting for standbys to join their cause and making it clear what they wanted: equality for women, equality for immigrants, and pro choice rights, the main mission for the organization. But despite this being their main interest, many held signs bearing assorted slogans protesting President Donald Trump in office and demanding ferociously that he be removed.

“We are marching for women’s rights, equality, to get this crazy guy out of our office. We are also marching because my sister is building a monument that honors the women who fought for the 19th Amendment and those who passed the 19th Amendment and we want to put it right here (Freedom Square),” said Margaret DeDecker, her younger daughter by her side wielding a sign of protest.

However, the march itself wasn’t just meant to be heard around the capitol, but the message was meant for all.

“I think that this march, just with the sheer numbers that are here can be seen and felt across the country and just bringing awareness to the problems that the people here are trying to promote and just spreading awareness and hopefully getting people to understand where we are coming from,” a young Washington University student by the name of Zara Abassy said.

Fiona Flynn
“I am marching for reproductive rights and social justice,” said protester Lazette Mussen.

The heart of the movement took place in Washington D.C., but other marches took place all around the United States, including Miami and our hometown St. Louis, according to Abassy, who was born and raised in Missouri. “Usually in St. Louis, there’s a women’s march downtown by the Arch, and that’s the one I usually go to.”

But marching isn’t the only way people have been supporting the cause. Isabelle Laury, accompanied by her two friends, spoke of her teacher who was supporting the cause for his two daughters and wife back in their hometown Frederick, Maryland.

“My teacher has two daughters, and one was a victim of sexual assault, and he’s supporting her,” Laury said.

The protestors met up in Freedom Square around 10 a.m., talking excitedly amongst each other, waiting in anticipation for the march to begin. Some joined in song, singing of women’s empowerment and equality as if they were caroling during Christmas. People of all genders and races gathered, standing together in unison, representing everything the movement stood for, equality for all, to be able to stand together as people without question, no matter who you are.

“I think that this march, just with the sheer numbers that are here can be seen and felt across the country and just bringing awareness to the problems that the people here are trying to promote and just spreading awareness and hopefully getting people to understand where we are coming from,” said Lazette Mussen, a former president of the foundation, marching with her daughter for reproductive rights.

Fiona Flynn
People of all ages, genders, and races attended the march to show undying support.

At 11 a.m., the march began, the passionate group making their way from Freedom Square down a 24 block route around the White House. People supporting Pro-Life stood on the sidewalk holding up graphic posters, standing in silence as the march went past, various protestors standing amongst them, holding up opposing signs, stating “My Body, My Choice” vigorously.

As the march came to an end, people planting their posters around the statue of Andrew Jackson on the back of his horse, setting up a perfect view for the White House. The women had made their mark, stating for all to hear “We are here!”

“The mindset that some people have that women shouldn’t be empowered or that women don’t have a place in politics or changing policy or voicing their opinions in things of the intellectual matter. We’re making it known that this is our place and this our right,” said Abassy with inspiring confidence.

The 2020 Women’s Rising march was highly spirited through the entirety of the day, spreading love, as well as awareness to the cause that they claim has been neglected by the government. Their voices were heard across the nation.

This story was originally published on Liberty Ledger on January 29, 2020.