While some students spend Sunday night finishing homework, College freshmen Johnna Gadomski and Nora Keathley spent theirs finishing the 9.5-hour drive back to Emory’s campus from Washington, D.C. after they protested at the Women’s March on Washington.
“We decided to go to Washington because … we felt like after the election we’ve been so local … we need to be really proactive,” Keathley said. “We also liked the idea that women from all over, [all] corners of the country, [came] together in D.C.”
Gadomski and Keathley were among several Emory students and professors who participated in the Washington, D.C. march following the Friday presidential inauguration of Donald J. Trump. The Women’s March on Washington was part of a nationwide movement intended to show Trump’s administration that his stances on issues such as immigration and minority rights will be challenged. Other Emory community members remained closer to campus and marched in one of the sister marches, the Atlanta March for Women and Social Justice, in downtown Atlanta Jan. 21.
The protest application for the Women’s March on Washington, filed by multiple parties to the National Park Service, estimated that 200,000 people would arrive to protest. Organizers estimated that the actual turnout was 500,000 people, which resulted in some Emory marchers from Emory experiencing a two-hour delayed start.
Some demonstrators from Emory attended the march to protest Trump’s political rhetoric, which they said is authoritarian and targets minority groups.
Rollins School of Public Health Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Management Silke von Esenwein compared the new presidential administration to 1930s Germany. Von Esenwein said the march let Trump know that he must face the segments of the American population that are incompatible with his views.
Echoing the sentiments of von Esenwein, Oxford College Senior Lecturer in English Stacy Bell said she protested because she believes Trump is a criminal.
“He’s a rapist, he’s a misogynist, and a racist and a xenophobe,” she said.
Students like Gadomski attended the march to express their discontent with the new presidential administration and demonstrate their support for minority rights.
“This is us showing our government what matters to us, but the biggest step going forward is going to be turning our words and declarations into mobilized action,” Gadomski said. “Now more than ever we must fight for what we believe in and not leave it up to our government or anyone else for that matter.”