Marching and voting are two ways women are making their voices heard
by Katie Arvia
CHICAGO, Ill. (January 20, 2018) – At least four Lansing residents attended this year’s March to the Polls, the second Chicago Women’s March since President Donald Trump took office. Dominique Newman, Jadyn Newman, Janiya Akbar, and Isis Yadron all participated in last year’s march as well. Jadyn, Janiya, and Isis are all students at Thornton Fractional South High School.
The four Lansingites were part of a throng of more than 300,000 protestors who gathered at at Congress Parkway and Columbus Drive in Millennium Park. With an increase in participants from last year, the Chicago Women’s March was one of the most highly attended marches across the country. Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer, and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, among others, made appearances at this year’s Chicago March.
Marching for our daughters
“This year, my daughter and her friends were my primary inspiration [for attending the march],” Dominique, who is Jadyn’s mother, explained. “My daughter’s enthusiasm to attend this year made it impossible to say no. I have worked hard to raise a daughter who is aware of political issues, aware of cultural issues, sensitive to injustices in society, and capable of speaking up.”
Jadyn, a 16-year-old junior at TF South, said that she sees herself as an ambassador. She is able to attend events like the Women’s March and gain a new perspective, which she then shares with her peers.
“Being so young, I strive to be socially aware and lead my generation in the fight for equal rights for all,” Jadyn said. She hopes she inspires others to “work towards seeking justice for their futures.”
Marching to the Polls
The message of the March was that women need to find ways to get involved—at the very least, they need to vote. That message resonates with Dominique. Currently serving on the board of the Homewood-Flossmoor League of Women Voters, she says that being actively involved in the community has helped her recognize how powerful women can be when they come together. Dominique hopes to eventually form a Lansing chapter of the League of Women Voters.
“It’s important to know that we aren’t alone in what we observe and experience as women, and it’s important to have a willingness to do something about it,” Dominique said. “It’s equally important to communicate to those in positions of power that we are watching and we are unwilling to passively accept inequality and injustice in our nation.”
At 16, Janiya is not old enough to vote, so the Women’s March gives her an opportunity to express her views. “Participating in events like this is important because it lets people who don’t have a voice know that someone is speaking up for them and standing with them,” she said. “It allows for the voiceless to be heard.”
Marching for everyone
And as Isis, 17, puts it, feminism is about equality for all. Not just men or women, but everyone.
“I believe in equality for all and I wanted to share my voice and keep marching until there’s equality for all,” she said.
Many people across the country believe in the importance of sharing their voice as well. It is estimated that worldwide, 1.5 million people marched in 486 different rallies this year alone.
“My favorite part about the march is being surrounded by people who are passionate about the same things as you are,” Isis said. “It’s truly amazing seeing so many people of different genders, ages, sexual orientations, religions, races, cultures, and traditions come together.”
“Every person has some reason why they choose to march, whether it be a personal experience, a son or daughter, or a witness of injustice in others’ lives,” Jadyn said. “That, to me, is incredible.”