By Caitlin Shannon
Two buses full of passionate Drewids made their way down I-78 last Saturday morning en route to the New York City Women’s March. Showing their Drew pride and standing up for the rights of all marginalized peoples, these students were part of a moment that will surely be in history books. This march allowed members of the Drew community the opportunity to join the cause of the larger equal rights community as they marched towards Trump Tower to demand equality in all forms.
The opportunity to go to the march as a school community made it possible for many students, who may not have gone otherwise, to take part in this important social justice act. As a school community focused on civic engagement and global citizenship, it was important that Drew provided this opportunity for students. Deja Lewis-Nwalipenja (’20) related the hope that came from a Drew-organized trip to the march saying, “It definitely was encouraging to realize that my school was invested in and cared about the situations at hand.”
Drewids who went expressed a new fervor for activism and engagement. Talia Smith (’19) was one of these students, saying, “I never really saw myself as an activist. I know I definitely will go to another march now and I will keep fighting for as long as I have to.”
The group who went to the march encompassed the Drew student body; men, women, athletes, and international students were all represented. The acceptance and compassion that is found on the path at Drew was mirrored at the march, students said. Kassel Garribay (’20) expressed what it was like to go to the march as an international student, “I was worried about going somewhere that I didn’t belong, but it didn’t feel like it was a march for American women. It was a march for women’s rights, regardless.”
So, the march is over. What can Drewids do now to keep demanding a better, more inclusive world? Well here’s what students who went to the march are doing to stay involved. Smith (’20) said, “I know I’m gonna vote. I’m gonna call some senators this week to try to get them to switch their DeVos vote for the Secretary of Education.” Garribay (’20) shared her plans, too, “I think I will keep myself informed, and my friends informed, because I think that’s important. Like if you hear something, let people know. Cause if you know something and you don’t share it what’s the point? And writing about it.”
If you’re looking for some more guidance in how to make your voice heard, consider participating in the Women’s March Foundations 10 Acts/100 Days initiative to keep making history. Every 10 days for the first 100 of Trump’s presidency you can take collective action for issues you care about. The first action is sending a postcard to your Senators expressing what you care about most. The Women’s March Foundation website makes it easy with printable postcards, an easy directory of your Senators address, and a template for the body of your postcard.
Being politically active is easier than ever before with a plethora of resources available at your fingertips. Keep yourself informed by keeping up with some nonpartisan, diverse news sources like PBS News Hour, C-Span, NPR, BBC, and Associated Press. Track how your representatives are voting in Congress with apps like Countable, which let you see what bills are debated and passed each day. Did your Representative’s and Senator’s votes not reflect your beliefs? Let them know by calling, sending a letter, or dropping by their local office. Most importantly: vote! Not only is it your civic duty, but it is one of the most effective ways to make your voice heard.