Following the inauguration, the Women’s March took over Washington D.C. on Saturday, Jan. 21 and was suspected to have been the largest protest in our country’s history. Millions turned to the streets in cities across the U.S. in opposition of the newly elected administration by focusing on one group to address a wide array of issues that could affect us all.
More than one thousand people gathered outside of the New Hampshire State House as well to be a part of one of many Women’s March’s that occurred across our nation. There were over 30 organizations in addition to the community advocates who helped put the event together.
N.H. State Representative Allison Nutting of Nashua, who spoke at Saturday’s event, said, “We’re not necessarily just fighting for women’s rights but everyone’s rights. Women’s rights are human rights,” Nutting said. “I’d like for politicians to realize that we are women and that we are a force to be reckoned with.”
She continued, “We’re not going to sit down quietly as sexism is becoming more prevalent, as rights for our families and education funds get cut. We’re not going to let them take it away.”
Many feel similarly as Nutting does. Executive director of Granite State Progress Zandra Rice-Hawkins helped to organize this event. She said, “We’re not going to stand by idly and watch the progress we’ve made be eroded. I’m personally approaching President Trump with an open mind and hope that he will move away from his divisive rhetoric and get to the task of governing because that is his job. And as citizens, our job is to hold him accountable of that.”
She said right now, there are a lot of people who feel vulnerable or targeted. Rice-Hawkins said, “At Granite State Progress, we helped to reach out and identify speakers for this program and we’re helping put together the logistical information around it. Other groups like Planned Parenthood helped with a lot of the fundraising.”
Rice-Hawkins continued, “I personally am involved not only as the director of my organization, but also as an individual who is very concerned with the direction our country is taking. I’m the mother of a one-year-old, and for me this isn’t just about protecting the gains we’ve won, but also building off of them.”
She continued, “I want my daughter to grow up in a community that expresses that it values all community members and it doesn’t target people based off of race, religion or sexual identity and we need to move in that direction of being a united community.”
Rice-Hawkins explained how she feels that for a lot of millennials out there, it is just commonplace to accept people regardless of whether they’re gay, lesbian or transgender. She continued to explain that we have a lot of work to do over the next several years to make sure they don’t roll back and create harm within these communities.
New Hampshire State Representative of Nashua Amelia Keane who spoke at this event also views the younger generation in a similar light. Keane said,
“I think that much of the younger generation, no matter the party, tends to be socially progressive. We all, for the most part, align on those issues and it doesn’t seem as though the current administration is in line with those issues like gender equality, environmental regulations and LGBTQ rights.” She continued, “This fight for equal rights is not going to be won with women alone; we need everyone together to be a strong united voice.”
Chief Officer for Diversity and Multiculturalism Dottie Morris spoke at the Women’s March in Concord. She said she hopes others receive this whole idea of unifying in support of women. Morris said, “When you support women, of course you support children. So, this whole idea of ‘how do we come together and unite’ and more or less think of ways to really examine the impact that issues like sexism have on everyone not just women, but on men as well.”
She continued, “It’s important to keep this at the forefront as we move forward just in general. Morris added, “Also, how do we continue to have complicated or difficult dialogues about what does it mean to live in a society where women and girls are continued to be in positions that are not growth producing? We have to raise our consciousness around that.”
Morris said she believes all of our lives are interconnected. She said, “[What] happens to one of us has an impact on all of us. So by thinking about women and girls in a society, we can’t help but think about the impact it has on men and boys and vice versa because we’re so interrelated and interconnected.” She continued, “I think it goes beyond just a women’s march, but you can have something where a group is the focus and you can connect it to the other issues that are going on because there is a ripple effect.” Morris said, “You can’t just hope for something because hope without action doesn’t produce any results.”
Senior at Keene State College majoring in Sustainable Product Design and Innovation Caroline Stapleton attended the March in Concord with more than a dozen other students. Stapleton said, “I felt like it was something I needed to do. I think it’s a really great way to cope with the outcome of the election and the inauguration.”
She continued, “I’m really proud of the amount of Keene State students that I’ve seen here and young people and it really gives me hope,” Stapleton explained. “There’s that much courage and power for change.”
Adam Urquhart can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org