Students reflect on D.C. experience

As the United States is faced with the questions of how to move forward in the light of the new nationals situation, some have found an answer and way to make their voice heard.

Hundreds of thousands of people from women to men attended the women’s march on Washington D.C. Some Hope College students made the journey to our nation’s capital and experienced one of the most powerful and rewarding days of their lives. Those who could not make the trip still had a chance to join the cause and rallied closer to home in Grand Rapids.

The Women’s March sends a bold message to our new government on the first day of office. On Jan. 21, the day after President Donald’s Trump inauguration, Fountain Street Church held a support rally for the march from 10 a.m to 5 p.m. The marchers wound through the city’s downtown area, stopped at Rosa Parks Circle and then wrapped up the proceedings at Veterans Memorial Park.

With more than 600 sister city marches, there was opportunity for students to show support in Chicago, Illinois and places all the way overseas like Nantes, France.

The mission of the march states, “We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families – recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.”

The event was attended by numerous Hope students around the country and globe with each having their own meaningful reasons to join the march.
“When people attack you, sometimes all you can do is turn the other cheek with grace,” Abigail Lalonde (’17) shared, “My personal motivation to march comes from my love for the earth and my friends who have been sexually assaulted, or who are homosexual or have varying racial backgrounds.”

The event was filled with so much sentiment and comfort. Women being surrounded by their fellow neighbors gave hope to the cause.
She shares her belief in the march, “I am speaking out because of that love, not for any hate in my heart. My movement is a movement of peace, and that is something I will always stand behind.”

The attendance included not only women, but also men and children. It was inclusive for everyone who was touched by the cause and reason.
“Throughout the march there was an overall sense of cohesion. It really seemed that every person marching was happy to be there and appreciative of their fellow marchers,” Mara Timmeney (’18) commented on the rally she attended in Chicago with her mother.

The Women’s March mission for the event include, “In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence is too great to ignore. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.”

“I felt overwhelming emotion when driving to downtown Grand Rapids. I saw blocks filled with people. I had thought I would just be their for a viewing of the march at Fountain Church, but I became part of the march that would make history all over the world!” Olivia Lauristen (’17) shared the impact of the march, “Everyone was there to fight for humanity, ALL of humanity.”

The march supports the resistance movements that reflect multiple and intersecting identities.

As Hope students joined in the mission, it shows what working together can do.

Mara had held a sign high on her march. She shares, “I went to the march because I believe in equal opportunity, access and protection for all genders, yet today there are social norms and governmental policies that deter equity. Overall, being a part of the march was an incredible experience.”

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