Oyster River Students Attend Women’s Marches Around New England

 “It was definitely a great reminder that because of the privilege I have from being male and white, I have a responsibility to use that privilege to try and help others. There’s a place for everyone at these movements!” says Nick Dundorf (‘18), who attended the Boston Women’s March For America.

  This past Saturday, January 21 – one day after President Donald Trump was inaugurated – men and women took part in women’s rights marches all over America and around the world. Many Oyster River students were able to attend these marches in cities such as Portsmouth, Boston, and Washington D.C.

Portsmouth, New Hampshire

womenmarch2Photo cred Hannah Jane Wilson

  Hannah Jane Wilson (‘18) attended the Portsmouth march with a few friends. She wasn’t expecting much since bigger cities like New York and Boston were also holding marches. “It was so full of people and I was happy I decided to go to Portsmouth!” Wilson says. Wilson described the atmosphere as very inclusive. “My friends and I made shirts and a poster, and everyone else at the march had posters and such. The energy was amazing. I usually don’t like crowds but I felt so comfortable and powerful,” she adds. “At one point there was a man yelling about how ‘Trump’s president’ and ‘we can’t do anything about it,’ and everyone around me just started chanting ‘no turning back.’ It was incredible.”

  Wilson was very surprised not only by the amount of people who attended but also by the diverse age groups. “I was impressed by all the younger kids. There were little girls with homemade signs which was cute. My ten year old brother went, and he was really excited about that.”   

womenmarch3Photo cred Hannah Jane Wilson

To Wilson, the march had many reasons. “[The march] stood for equality, not just for women, but for everyone. As the march sites said, it wasn’t about Trump. It was about not standing for hate and bigotry, and showing support for one another. It was just really empowering to be there and see everyone caring and loving for one another.”

 Leaving the march, Wilson felt empowered by everything she had just experienced.

womenmarch4Photo cred Hannah Jane Wilson

“Afterwards, I decided I wanted a pussy hat, so I bought some yarn and learned to knit which has been interesting. This has made me realize that we all can’t stop fighting. We can’t end it on this. Marching is a good beginning, but it’s not where we’re going to end. Seeing everyone together only makes me want to do more and I hope everyone feels the same way.”

Boston, Massachusetts

womenmarch5Photo cred Maisie Cook

  Both Dundorf and Maisie Cook (‘18) attended the Boston march with their own groups and friends. “Over 100,000 people stood on Boston Common.  There were a bunch of speakers including the mayor and Senator Elizabeth Warren. All the speeches were super uplifting,” says Cook. Dundorf, who has been to many marches and protests like this before, agrees with Cook. “It was the largest demonstration I had been to. The energy was very positive. It was very civil, given the amount of people there, and many people were rallying together for the first time since Donald Trump was elected,” says Dundorf. They both focused on how positive the energy was throughout the entire march. “In a time where there has been so much negativity, it was so great to be surrounded by so much positivity,” says Cook.

  Both Dundorf and Cook marched for similar beliefs: not just for women’s rights, but rights for all. “I marched because I believe in equal rights for people of all genders, races, and religions,” says Cook.          

womenmarch6Photo cred Nick Dudorf

To Dundorf, the march meant much more than just a demonstration for women’s rights. “I attended the march because that is where my passions lie. I am a strong believer in social justice and for nonviolent action. I marched to show solidarity not only for women, but also for Muslims, LGBTQ folk, people of color, and all the other disenfranchised groups that are now in danger under Trump’s agenda,” says Dundorf.

  “Leaving a demonstration is always a little strange, coming down from a high energy environment. With this I felt like I had done my part for that day, and that I was ready to take further action in the near future,” says Dundorf. Both these students believe strongly in fighting for these rights and will continue to do so in their lives.

Washington, D.C.

womenmarch7Photo cred Lauren Macmanes

  Lauren Macmanes (‘18) took a roadtrip with her mom all the way to D.C. to march. “We stopped at one rest stop for lunch on the way to D.C. and the energy was ecstatic. Almost every woman there was going to Washington, and ladies would come up to me and my mom and say ‘see you in Washington!’ Even on the road we would pass cars that had ‘D.C. Or bust’ written on them or huge busses filled with women,” says Macmanes. She was amazed by the kindness from everyone going to the march. “Even before we got to Washington, we knew how big of a movement we were going to be apart of.”

  At the march itself, Macmanes found that all men and women were kind to one another and offered their support and love. “The people were all so supportive even though the crowds were so packed that we were all crammed in shoulder to shoulder. At one point I lost my mom and this group of young women helped me find her. We stood for hours and hours at the rally and there were a couple of times where somebody needed medical attention and everyone would shout ‘doctor, doctor’ until somebody showed up,” says Macmanes.

womenmarch8Photo cred Lauren Macmanes

  “I’ve never seen anything like it: how these women treated each other. As I walked through D.C., everywhere I looked there were people packing every street. There was no violence anywhere. Just a bunch of people standing up for each other for their rights.” Macmanes marched for not only her rights but rights and equality for everyone. “I wasn’t trying to protest our new president, but I wanted him to know that his candidacy really shook me and all these other people,” says Macmanes.

  Macmanes realizes that not everyone agrees with what she and the people at the march believe in. Macmanes considers herself a feminist and believes the definition of feminism has been misconstrued. “A feminist is not just a bunch of snobby women that all hate men and think they are all evil and rapists, and I think that’s why people tend to avoid the term.  The march gave me a new definition of feminism. Feminism is a political movement that believes in equality for all races and genders,” says Macmanes.

  All four of these Oyster River students along with many others marched on Saturday for their rights. Above all, people joined these marches to be able to come together with those that share the same beliefs. “[The march] reminded me that the things going on in this country that scare me also scare so many others. I’m not alone and these people are feeling very passionate, just like I am,” says Dundorf.

Written by Skylar Hamilton