Standing in a massive sea of people decked out in pink hats and wielding creative signs, I immediately thought back to around three month ago when I first approached Emily Jones, the head of school, and asked if we could take a school trip to the Women’s March on Washington. When Emily said yes, I never imaged that we would be joining a global chain of marches with over five million participants, all fiercely advocating for women’s rights. As a school, we filled up two giant coach buses with over 100 students and faculty, and hit the road early Friday morning. After eleven hours, we arrived at the elementary school gym where we would camp out for the night.
During my sophomore year I attended the Climate March in New York City, but this endeavor was on a whole new scale. We installed tracking apps, gathered phone numbers, assigned meeting places, painted t-shirts, and printed maps of Washington D.C., the whole deal!
Admittedly, at first I was quite nervous to march. But after complete strangers offered me granola bars and three people helped lift me onto a wall so I could get a better view, I realized what a compassionate environment we had created. Over 700,000 people attended without a single arrest. Small children sat on their parents shoulders, proudly holding up their hand drawn signs and chanting boldly.
At school, we continue to talk about the march and what our next steps should be. We are discussing intersectionality: how some participants of the march emphasized white feminism or trans exclusionary slogans and imagery, and how different marginalized communities felt that their voices were underrepresented. While the march was not perfect, I am really glad that Putney made the effort to attend, representing our viewpoints and taking place in this crucial facet of democracy.