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The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

‘The future is female’

People+from+various+walks+of+life+and+across+varying+genders+attend+the+Women%E2%80%99s+March+Jan.+20+in+downtown+Fort+Worth.+Organizers+estimated+5%2C000+supporters+took+to+the+streets+to+show+their+support+for+women%E2%80%99s+rights.
People from various walks of life and across varying genders attend the Women’s March Jan. 20 in downtown Fort Worth. Organizers estimated 5,000 supporters took to the streets to show their support for women’s rights. Photo by Kathryn Kelman/The Collegian

By Jamil Oakford and Kathryn Kelman

Women’s March focuses on getting supporters to polls, ballots

As the sun rose one year after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, the nation’s women’s rights activists rose with it once again to rally and march for equality, with TCC students, faculty and staff among them.

Fort Worth held its second Women’s March Jan. 20, where people from all walks of life, genders and sexual orientations gathered to make their voices heard. It was one of many cities around the country where Women’s Marches took place, including Dallas, New York and Washington, D.C. Calling for equal pay for equal work and electing more women to political office, marchers took to the streets in solidarity.

“I feel like everybody marches for a different reason,” NW student Jessica Bailey said, adding that she was marching in opposition to “inequality in the workplace.”

Demonstrators express their disdain for the Republican-controlled Congress during the Women’s March, which took place hours after the federal government shutdown Jan. 20.
Demonstrators express their disdain for the Republican-controlled Congress during the Women’s March, which took place hours after the federal government shutdown Jan. 20.
Photo by Kathryn Kelman/The Collegian

She said she wants to see that change for the future. She said she has also experienced harassment and assault, which also motivated her to march.

The demonstration kicked off at 10 a.m. with marchers bundled in sweaters and “pink p—y” hats carrying signs that ranged from “Good science doesn’t lie, bad presidents do,” to “Shed walls, don’t build walls,” and “My granddaughter wants to be the third woman president.”

Organizers estimated 5,000 people participated in the demonstration. Among them was South student Quillan Yeager who said it was cool to see how many attended.

“It was a lot more people than I thought,” he said. “It feels powerful.”

The Women’s March featured many supportive messages.
The Women’s March featured many supportive messages.
Photo by Kathryn Kelman/The Collegian

Erin Blythe, TR visual arts instructor, helped organize last year’s march but attended this year’s march in a different capacity.

“This year, I was able to be a participant,” she said, adding that it was still a powerful experience.

Blythe said the large number of people who joined political groups or assembled new ones during the past year is a testament to the first march.

“Today’s numbers only reflect those able to literally walk downtown this morning, not the growing sentiment in Fort Worth for political change,” she said. “Remember, this is Fort Worth. It is very exciting to see this kind of support on our own courthouse steps.”

Engaging new voters and supporting women running for office was the big focus of many signs at this year’s Women’s March.
Engaging new voters and supporting women running for office was the big focus of many signs at this year’s Women’s March.
Photo by Kathryn Kelman/The Collegian

NE student Elizabeth Crowdis said this was her first protest.

“I thought it was pretty cool,” she said. “I expected it [the marchers] to be, like, coming in guns blazing.”

Bailey, who also was attending a march for the first time, said while it was her first, she’s kept a close eye on issues affecting women.

The Fort Worth Women’s March co-chair Leah Payne, who introduced the speakers at the rally, said this was a perfect time to have it.

“I think it’s important to have this march because the last couple of months have been hard, especially with the government shutdown last night,” Payne said. “I think we need to kind of come together and remember why we’re here.”

Robert Bonilla of continuing education workforce services joins other demonstrators Jan. 20 in Fort Worth.
Robert Bonilla of continuing education workforce services joins other demonstrators Jan. 20 in Fort Worth.
Photo by Karen Anderson/The Collegian

She said knowing that they stand with women of color, Dreamers and the LGBTQ community is important going forward into the new year.

On the steps of the Tarrant County Courthouse, speakers at the pre-march rally also tried to redefine solidarity and give everyone attending a new goal for the upcoming year.

“Solidarity is now understanding that the chains of your sisters are your chains as well,” said Kassandra Fernandez, a leader within the United Fort Worth organization, at the rally preceding the march. “It is your duty to stand next to her and say, ‘I will help you in any way that I can.’”

Fernandez added solidarity has a new meaning in 2018 and encouraged marchers to put their beliefs and words into action.

“We’re tired of resisting. It’s time to dismantle,” she said.

The Women’s March, which received global media coverage in 2017 due to marches in many cities in the U.S. and Europe, returned this year with a new purpose, according to speakers at the Fort Worth march.

Marchers carried their signs through the streets of downtown Fort Worth. This year’s Women’s March focused on “Power to the Polls.”
Marchers carried their signs through the streets of downtown Fort Worth. This year’s Women’s March focused on “Power to the Polls.”
Photo by Kathryn Kelman/The Collegian

Libby Willis, former Democratic candidate for Texas Senate District 10, said attendees must go out and make change happen through voting.

“We’re going to march to the polls, we’re going to vote and we’re going to win when we elect women,” she said.

South student Taylor Walker  said she agreed with the message of getting out and voting to change the future.

“I was always planning to vote,” she said. “This just showed the importance of voting. This is going to show people it [voting] does matter.”

She said she joined hundreds of other marchers because she wanted to take part in something meaningful to her.

“It was a way to do something physical for the things that I believe in,” Walker said.

Activists march down the streets of downtown Fort Worth Jan. 20 during the Women’s March to show their support for equal pay, female empowerment and other issues women face.
Activists march down the streets of downtown Fort Worth Jan. 20 during the Women’s March to show their support for equal pay, female empowerment and other issues women face.
Photo by Kathryn Kelman/The Collegian

Blythe said although marches can’t be the cure-all, they can serve a vital purpose.

“Marches aren’t going to solve the problems, but they do offer a moment to rally around others in a physical space and re-energize in this exhausting political climate,” she said.

Payne said this march can help serve as a way to jog people’s memories and help them realize these issues haven’t been solved.

“It’s reminding people that women’s issues are not a one-time issue. It’s an all-the-time issue,” she said. “We fight day in and day out for equality and for our place where we know we deserve to be.”

Payne said it’s vital that women band together, help each other and stand up for one another.

“The goal is for these marches to be celebrations of equality, not marches for equality,” she said.

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