The day after the election, there was an air of melancholy on the Tufts campus. Given the political leanings of our campus, many students felt depressed and dejected. These students found at the Women’s March on Washington that took place both in Washington, D.C. and locally through Sister Marches in cities like Boston an outlet for self-expression, solidarity and activism. Tufts students — some facilitated by the Women’s Center, which played a key role in sending students to the march and creating signs — flocked to both the Boston and D.C. marches.
It was not an anti-Trump protest. It was certainly motivated by some of the rhetoric perpetuated by his campaign, but the march itself was about a multitude of issues. It was a coming together of people who support women’s causes and seek to combat issues that disproportionately affect women and other minority communities. The “Unity Principles,” or platform of the march, focus on women’s issues as well as the rights of other marginalized groups such as the LGBTQ community and immigrants.
Despite the massive turnout, the march was not without its own controversy. There was a great deal of debate and discussion surrounding the lack of diversity among the march’s original organizers. However, the movement responded quickly by revising leadership roles: three of the four main organizers were women of color, a step forward for a feminist movement that has often been criticized for prioritizing the needs of white women over others. The unexpectedly high turnout for the marches represents progress for feminism, but there is still work to be done when it comes to making sure the movement as a whole is inclusive and welcoming of all women, regardless of color, class, anatomy or any other factor. Advancement of women’s rights will not proceed in a manner beneficial to all women unless we make a concerted effort to understand intersectionality and the issues faced by different groups. In this regard, it is extremely important that these marches do not represent the end of the fight for equality.
Though the march was a positive first step, it cannot fix systemic issues on its own. It is imperative that people use the energy created by the marches for continued social action and organization in order to implement concrete change. After all, the pursuit of equality is a marathon, not a sprint.