“I am a nasty women,” Kerri Shaw said in a crowded basement filled with a crowd of about 200 women, men and children. 

The march began at First United Methodist Church, 2 S. College Street, where people gathered and spoke about topics including Donald Trump, women's rights and Planned Parenthood. When someone asked who had attended the Women's March on Washington one year ago, about 50 people raised their hands. 

The people in the basement then moved outside, where about 100 more people were gathered. They marched up College Street, chanting. They walked up Union Street, then Court Street. The march ended with more speakers at the Athens County Courthouse. 

In the basement before the march, Kerri Shaw, who organized the event, said there were many reasons to march. 

“We’re going to march to affirm our sheer humanity and pronounce a firm message of resistance,” Shaw said. “I march for my mother, my little sister and all of the girls who know me as Ms. Shaw. Who do you march for?”

Shavon Martin of Morgan county drove an hour to attend the march. She said she believes it is important for women to band together. 

“I am here because I don’t appreciate how Planned Parenthood has been attacked and aggressively tried to be defunded by various components,” Martin said. “I think they provide a valuable service to low income families and I think a lot of it is sexism aimed at women.”

Martin said she believes the march is an important show of force. She hopes to make the community feel that there is strength in numbers. 

“I’m part of one of the LGBT groups here in town, and to me I feel like that a lot of sexism intersects with homophobia and I feel like a lot of our people currently in power exhibit sexism, homophobia and bigotry,” Martin said. 

Jessica Fletcher came to the march with her mother and mother-in-law. She is an Athens resident who came to the march to show support and create a community. 

“My goal is to get voices heard, especially if we can use our power of privilege to get our voices heard,” Fletcher said.

Tina Wilson, Fletcher’s mother, attended the Women’s March on Washington one year ago. 

“I want to be a voice for women and I’m also an advocate for people with disabilities,” Wilson said. “We’re strong, and our thoughts and opinions are important. Stay out of our bodies.” 

Wilson said during her experience in D.C., she joined with other women to stand together. 

“We are strong together,” Wilson said. “It was extremely peaceful and we got along really well. It was an amazing experience to be joined together.”

Zach Reizes, the Center for International Studies representative for Student Senate, also attended the Women’s March on Washington. He said last year he carried a sign that read "It’s going to get worse," but now believes there is enough “positive energy” that things will get better. This year, he held a sign that said "It’s going to get better." 

“I’m here today because when Donald Trump was elected president, I was reminded no matter how much activism you do, there’s always room for more and room to engage with more people,” Reizes, a  junior studying global studies, said. “I think marching with all of these people is an amazing way to come together and acknowledge we want to see change.”

Reizes said attending the Women’s March as a man was a "delicate topic," but he believes his job as a young man is to listen and be a good bystander. 

“I try to participate in all of the Better Bystander programs at Ohio University,” Reizes said. “I try to listen to my female friends when they tell me things and, most of all, share only when I think I can contribute, not anytime. My role is to elevate the voices of people who are less heard, and that’s it.”

AshtonNichols_

an614816@ohio.edu

Comments powered by Disqus