Opinion: Women march on capital

Standing in solidarity with American minorities is vital

By Macy Landes, News Editor

My mom asked me if I wanted to fly to Washington, D.C. to take part in the Women’s March on Washington about a week before the event.

The decision wasn’t hard to make.

The march was massive. It’s estimated that at least 500,000 people attended the D.C. march on Jan. 21 — the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration. Even catching a ride on the Metro was a struggle. When my family members and I got to the station, there were too many people to even stand inside, much less on the platform.

When we got off the train, participants were already filling the streets as we walked to the stage where the speakers would address the crowd. I didn’t hear all of them -— there were more than 40 — but every speech I did hear shared the theme of actions that need to happen right now.

I went to the march to learn, and I did.

I learned that it’s every dissenter’s responsibility to take action.

To turn down the opportunity to march on Washington would have been like staring my marginalized peers in the face and telling them their safety didn’t matter enough for me to do that.

A famous Desmond Tutu quote reads, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” If I oppose Trump’s policies but don’t speak out against them and stand in solidarity with people who are directly affected by them, I have chosen the side of neutrality, which is inherently the side of the oppressor. My priority wouldn’t be liberty and justice for all, it would be liberty and justice for me.

In being neutral, my priority would be in school, where systemic racism allows me — a straight, white, cisgender female — an entirely different and more broad scope of opportunities than my LGBTQ+ and classmates of color.

I would be prioritizing my own family, rather than the hundreds of others hurting and despairing for their friends and family members who are affected by things like last month’s Muslim ban. My dad, a legal resident of this country, traveled to Canada this past week for a work trip, devoid of fear for his access back into the United States. The fact that other people who are here legally are currently being detained at airports and denied their right to come home is disgusting.

I would be prioritizing staying in my hometown, where I’m comfortable. For underprivileged people, though, living in Lawrence is unsafe. For people all around the country, their homes aren’t safe. On the train ride up to the march, my family and I met a girl who lives a few blocks from Trump Tower in New York City. She told us that now more than ever she’s scared to leave her apartment, because New York is now unsafe for her. I was once told that everyone deserves safety, but no one deserves comfort. It comes down to whether or not you’re willing to experience discomfort in the face of facts. And not alternative ones.

The fact is, Donald Trump and his cabinet members jeopardize the lives of thousands with destructive ideologies and reckless executive orders.

The normalization of marginalization cannot continue.