This past Saturday, thousands of women once again marched for equal rights. Jan. 20 marked the second annual Women’s March on Washington, with hundreds of cities around the nation participating in their own marches and rallies. Some of those marchers were GC students and graduates.One group was Chicago-bound. Jenae Longenecker and Laura Hochstetler, both seniors, were on SST in Tanzania when the last Women’s March occurred and wanted to see what it was all about.
Longenecker said, “I had lots of friends who attended and was definitely inspired from a distance, both on the day of the march itself and in the weeks and months following.”
Longenecker and Hochstetler were accompanied by 2017 GC grads Joelle Friesen, Leah Landes and Morgan Short. Though the overarching theme of the Women’s March on Washington organization was “Power to the Polls!”, Longenecker noted that a myriad of messages filled Michigan Avenue.
She said, “There were posters for the Sierra Club, posters honoring Mother Earth, posters challenging white women to stand up for marginalized groups and calling us out on the percentage of white women who voted for Trump and Roy Moore.”
Such messages were mirrored at the march in Indianapolis, which was attended by first-years Taylor Rex, Talia Miller, Emmy Rupp, Amanda Guzman, Emma Nouri and Elizabeth Breckbill.
Rupp said, “After these past couple of years, we need things that unite us and bring us towards talking about these topics.”
Indianapolis’ rally featured a number of speakers discussing poverty, the Affordable Care Act, violence against transgender women and people in the LGBTQ+ community, and immigration.
Rex said, “There was a young woman from IUPUI, an undocumented immigrant….for me that was one of the strongest [speakers], just knowing that she was around our age and we have friends that are in her position.”
One quote from this young woman that stuck with Miller was, “I am undocumented, unapologetic, and unafraid.”
GC’s director of corporate and foundation relations Richard Aguirre was a featured speaker at Indy’s march. He discussed immigration, specifically the ICE detention center that was supposed to be located in Elkhart County.
Attending the 2018 Women’s March on Washington in Chicago and Indianapolis was an experience that generated hope and inspiration in these GC women.
Hochstetler said, “I was so excited to be able to go this year even though the doctor told me I probably shouldn’t go because I was getting over a nasal infection. I think the march healed me, not the antibiotics.”