By Kassel Franco Garibay
Throughout the week preceding the Women’s March several of my international friends approached me with doubts regarding the march. “Do you think it is safe for us to go?” “Aren’t you concerned about being arrested?” “Are you taking your passport with you?” As international students, our biggest fear is to make a slight mistake and end up losing our precious student visas, but sometimes the risk is just worth taking. Those questions were not unexpected, but the one that really struck me was “Is it really our place, as non-Americans, to march with them?”
I am not going to lie, I totally second guessed my attendance after I received that question. But after a few moments of hesitation, I shook off my doubts and started working on my sign for the march the day after. The Women’s March, I realized, was about more than the U.S. and nationalities in general. After all, there were 673 other sister marches all across the world, all of them spreading the same message: we will no longer accept the kind of hateful, sexist, xenophobic, and homophobic (to say a few) rhetoric that has unfortunately been present in the past.
Once I found myself in the march it became clear that I was right; I belonged there as much as anyone else did. The atmosphere was inclusive and vibrant, and, even though my arms hurt from holding out my sign and giving out high fives, I am happy I stayed all the way to the end. After eight hours of not sitting down, eating, going to the bathroom, and/or drinking water I felt more hopeful than I had since the night of the election.
Even though this past week has been very active for the new President, and most of his actions seem condemnable to my eyes, I hope the march will signal a new section of the story. It’s not the march itself, but the actions it will inspire that will make a change in the narrative.
Kassel is a freshman.