Marching Ahead

Reflections on the Women’s March and What Comes Next

One week later, the Women’s March on Washington (WMW) keeps moving forward.  Women and their allies marched in all fifty states and around the world—over 600 demonstrations including an estimated 3 million people. All signifying their opposition to the Trump Administration’s agenda of hate and division.  The organizers have made clear, this movement is just getting started.

I participated in Cincinnati’s Sister March, where I was delighted to see current and former students, members of my church, colleagues, and friends.  We came from different walks of life, but shared a commitment to social justice. Two alums with whom I marched, Rebecca Zemmelman (’16) and Laura Thudium (’16), share their reflections on the March and what should come next below.

Rebecca Zemmelmanzemmelman201

I decided to march on Saturday at the Women’s March in Cincinnati because I needed to feel a sense of togetherness and empowerment that I hadn’t felt since this past election.  Not only was this country polarized, but everyone around me was down, discouraged, and angry liked I’d never seen. Rightfully so, after the way we saw this country support so fondly a man who isolated and oppressed so many.

What I saw at the March was truly beautiful.  Men and women.  Children in strollers and grandparents in wheelchairs.  People of every race, religion, sexual orientation fighting for justice and equality.  Fighting for the America that we believe in.  An accepting America.

In a sea of pink “pussy” hats, I felt re-energized and revitalized.  The march was evidence that there were so many more people that chose love over hate this election.

What I’d like to see happen next is channeling this progressive momentum into Hamilton County local elections to make a difference in our community first.  It is easy to get discouraged feeling like the executive branch of the federal government is so far out of reach to make any sort of difference or change.  But instead of just “getting over it” we should put more energy into local government and work our way up.  We should develop an action plan for electing good, progressive, open-minded, and inclusive candidates in the right positions.  That way we can make a difference on a smaller scale that will expand over time.

Laura Thudium27884_1294274598768_1287402197_30698501_6322434_n_400x400

After attending the Women’s March in Cincinnati on Saturday, I felt invigorated and felt a warm sense of comradery and positivity. Looking around me, I saw every age from little babies to elderly folks in wheelchairs. I saw women of color, I knew of other women that marched who were Catholic, Protestant, conservative, and liberal. The thing that most of us had in common is that we belonged to a group who, at one point or another, had been marginalized by the words of the 45th President of the United States. Knowing that we elected a man to the highest office in this country who has systematically ridiculed countless groups of people was a shock.

That’s why I marched. I wanted to be surrounded by people who wanted to peacefully but assertively resist that way of thinking.

The beautiful thing about women is that there is so much diversity within that group based on race, age, class, and the list goes on. This broad range of experiences can also be challenging for any women’s movement.  For example, I have a certain set of experiences, which, unfortunately, can make me lose sight of issues that are important to other women.

What I would like to see happen next is more support between different issue-based groups within the women’s march and more sensitivity to different perspectives. I certainly think women easily unite under some broad issues. But equally as important, I want to try to understand, align, and collaborate with other women on specific issues that may not be as immediately obvious to me. Moving forward, we can all do small acts of resistance that are contrary to the messages disseminated from our current president. My hope is that we all try to reach out to different issue-based groups and ask what can be done and to stand in solidarity with other women.

Rebecca Zemmelman is an associate at Essig & Evans, where she specializes in family law. As a law student, Rebecca was a Program Assistant for Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice through which she wrote for the Freedom Center Journal and served as a co-chair on a project to help reform laws surrounding Domestic Violence in the State of Ohio. Rebecca also was the President of the Student Chapter of the American Constitution Society.

Laura Thudium practices family law at Beth Silverman & Associates. At the College of Law, Laura was the Executive Editor of the Freedom Center Journal and she represented victims of abuse in the Domestic Violence and Civil Protection Order Clinic.

 

Author: Verna L. Williams

Interim Dean, Nippert Professor of Law, co-founder and co-director of Cincinnati Law's Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice. Professor Williams joined Cincinnati Law's faculty in 2001. She teaches Constitutional Law; Gender and the Law; and Family Law. Her research examines the intersection of race and gender in law and society.

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