A Project for Better Journalism chapter

Women’s March — A Student Experience

The Women’s March took place on January 21st to protest the inauguration of Donald Trump. Over 2 million people participated worldwide, including sophomore Sophie Dagostino, who attended the march on Washington D.C.

What made you want to attend the Women’s March?

I wanted to attend the Women’s March the moment I heard about it, weeks prior to the actual date. I’m an avid supporter of equal rights and a huge feminist, and I try to be as much of an activist as I can be. Usually that just consists of me posting activism-related content on Instagram and Tumblr, but when I can get involved in something bigger, I try to do what I can.

I’ve never been to any huge protests, just some small ones here and there. I had been begging my mom (another big feminist and activist like myself) to go ever since I heard about it, but she said we couldn’t because of hotels, money, etc. etc. She promised to take us to the march in Concord instead. But the day before the inauguration, she was browsing online articles and news like she usually does and became particularly angry about the current state of America. In a fit of feminist rage, she did all the research she could, found any scrap of extra money, and booked us two nights at a hotel in D.C. We drive about 10 hours there the next morning.

What was it like participating in the Women’s March?

It was an amazing experience. I don’t think I had ever seen so many people in one place before. The estimated number of people there was 500,000, but I could have sworn it was a million. I was a bit too far away to clearly hear the speakers, but the one thing I heard clearly was Alicia Keys singing. It was a great moment. There were so many amazing signs and amazing people, I loved every minute of it.

Do you have any interesting stories from the March?

I do have a couple of interesting stories. The first started as soon as we woke up. Nearly every single person in the hotel was there for the protest. They were providing the protesters with free shuttles, but there were so many people trying to get in them that not everyone could even fit. We got in a taxi with two strangers instead. The driver was an immigrant from northern India who studied astrology and hated Trump. I believe his name was Sunny. One of the women was a high school history teacher, and the other was there with the teacher. Sunny, the driver, talked the entire ride about his views and experiences on Trump, the march, immigration, being a cab driver, and more. It was very interesting seeing all of this from a different perspective.

When the ride was over we said goodbye and split up from the two strangers, and waited in line for the train. The line was enormous. I couldn’t find the end the entire time I was there. We could have held our own women’s march right there. We unknowingly cut in line and got on the train within an hour. An hour seems like a long time but it would have definitely been at least three hours if we were in the back. The train ride was extremely long, too. The entire thing was filled with people going to the march, and we were the first stop, which meant nobody else at any other stop could get on the train. The people at the other stops were all marchers, too.

There was so much overcrowding at the station in D.C., that we were delayed several times. It took two more hours to get to D.C. We had a three hour commute, but it would have been only 30 minutes on a regular day.

At one point they started chanting “my body, my choice” over and over. By the time it ended, many of the women in front of us were crying. Including my mom. Strangers were hugging, everyone was smiling, it was beautiful.When we got off the train, the station was even more crowded. It was packed to the brim, and it took about an hour to get out of there, too. People were still holding their signs and chanting there, even though we weren’t at the official site of the march yet. People were just as enthusiastic in the overpacked train station march as they were at the Women’s March, though. We did all the chants and held up our signs. It was great.

When we actually got to the march, we couldn’t believe how crowded it was. At one point, we actually got so crowded in that I actually physically could not move. It was extremely uncomfortable. We eventually made it to the side of the march and stayed there, and went through the rest of the march without being squished.

Even though the march itself has passed, the Women’s March is still providing ways to resist, including 10 actions for the first 100 days, which can be found on their website.