Ohio University students were among the crowd of half a million people gathered for the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. on Saturday.
Catalyzed by President Donald Trump taking office Friday, the march aimed to “send a bold message to our new administration on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights,” according to the event’s official website.
Crowd scientists estimated the crowd outnumbered Trump’s inauguration ceremony threefold. Among the demonstrators was Jenna Reis, a freshman studying communication sciences and disorders. During Thanksgiving, Reis began planning to go to the march with her mom.
“It’s really important for both of us to speak up about women’s rights,” she said. “We’ve both been the independent ones in our family. We want to do everything in our power to speak up and walk in solidarity with other women who are standing up for what they believe in.”
Reis and her mom, along with eight other members of Hillel, made the 6-hour trek from Athens to the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Reis said from the moment she got to the nation’s capital, she “got chills” from seeing men and women from all different cultures banding together.
“We could barely exit the train because there were so many people,” she said. “It was an incredible sight to see. It was packed. (We were) all together chanting and screaming and hugging each other.”
The demonstrators gathered at the National Mall to listen to speeches, poems and songs from various speakers, including high-profile celebrities like Madonna, Ashley Judd, Scarlett Johansson and more. Following the rally, the demonstrators walked a 1 1/2-mile stretch from the National Mall to the White House.
“You can’t change who the president is. However, I’m hoping to be able to make a stand,” Hillary Reskin, a freshman studying history and integrated media, said. “The people are the government, and it’s important we stand up for what we believe in. We can’t do anything unless we talk about it or tell people about it. It was important to voice my opinion.”
The march in D.C. was not the only demonstration supporting women’s rights. More than one million people gathered in solidarity worldwide Saturday.
“I feel like I’m going to see a lot more people exercising their constitutional rights (during Trump’s administration),” Jordan Warner, an Athens resident, said. “It was cool to see people in D.C. and all over the world marching for what they believe in.”
Reis said the march was “one of the most important things” she’s done in her life and is looking forward to using what she learned there when back in Athens.
“I want to take that feeling back with me and push me to be more active in the community,” Warner, who accompanied Reis on the trip to D.C., said.
Regardless of partisan affiliations, Reskin said people need to be knowledgeable and advocate for their beliefs.
“I encourage people to stand up for what they believe in and educate themselves,” she said. “If you’re going to believe something, you need to know why you believe in it.”