National and Local Politics in Action

The current political climate is writ with activism. President Trump and his administration have sparked a number of protests, marches, and rallies. Protests like The Women’s March, the Native Nations Rise March, and The Students for Solidarity Rally exemplify how we can advocate for ourselves with something as big as an international following or as local as a community rally. And both can make a profound impact.

The Women’s March

The largest single-day protest in United States history.

On January 21st, 2017, 673 marches took place worldwide, on all seven continents. In Washington D.C. alone, 500,000 people gathered to advocate for legislation reform on issues such as women’s rights, healthcare, and immigration. The protestors were concerned with newly inaugurated President Trump’s seemingly anti-women sentiment. Partisan issues aside, the best part of the Women’s Marches was the fact that each march in the United States was completely peaceful.

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Nearly 100,000 people attended The Women’s March in London, England on January 21st 2017– the first day of Donald Trump’s presidency. 

The Native Nations March

Spanned generations.

I had the pleasure of attending the Native Nations Rise March  on March 10th, 2017. Members of Native American tribes across the United States gathered in Washington D.C. to march down Pennsylvania Avenue, protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline. The march was led in part by Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, which argues that the 1,172 mile pipeline threatens drinking water, crosses sacred lands, and was approved by the Trump administration without proper consent. The protestors demanded an audience with the Trump administration believe the United States should pay more respect to tribal rights.

On a cold and sleety Friday morning, the protestors met in Judiciary Square, marched to

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The route the Native Nations protestors walked in Washington D.C on March 10th 2017. 

the front of the Trump Hotel, the White House, and eventually ended their march at the Washington Monument. The atmosphere was lively; Many people were dressed in feathers and bright colors, others were singing or chanting with drums. Everything smelled like incense. And at the end they gave the protestors pizza! I was amazed at the march’s diversity– both young and old showed up to advocate for tribal rights.

The Students for Solidarity Rally

At Furman University.

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Furman students and community members standing outside the library, listening to students speak about the Muslim ban. 

Students may not have voted in large numbers at Furman University, but they are starting to speak out against President Trump’s recent executive order that banned Muslim and refugees from seven countries. On February 15th, 2017, Furman students and members of the Greenville community gathered on the steps of the James B. Duke library to protest the ban. Although the number of protestors at Furman pales in comparison to that of the Women’s March or even the Native Nations March, it’s encouraging to see my generation voicing political opinions.

Even some students supporting President Trump’s executive order came to the library steps on February 15th.

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The Trump Supporters at the February 15th rally. Used with permission.

So What?

These three marches echo the influential protests like the 1963 March on Washington or the Take Back the Night protests in the 1790s. The Women’s March, the Native Nations March, and the Students for Solidarity Rally were not the first time individuals have spoken up about important issues. And if we keep up the political spirit, they will not be the last. As citizens, we have the right and the privilege to have our voices heard. So speak up about the issues on your mind because the world is listening.

 

Sources and Image Credit

Image of Women’s March in London from DailyMail.com

All other images from Shannon Cherney

History.com

Native Nations Rise

NBC News

Standing with Standing Rock

The Hill

The White House

Time.com

Wikipedia List of 2017 Women’s Marches

 

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