By Nikki Merkle
We are all equal. We all deserve equality. Everyone’s rights are human rights.
200,000 people will walk in various marches in major cities across the country. The main purpose of the peaceful protests are to promote equal rights for oppressed groups, especially women, with the overarching message that women’s rights are human rights. The marches are for anyone to protest president-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration, or to stand up against the recent spike in hateful rhetoric in the country, but seem to primarily celebrate women’s rights.
Having the name of these marches literally be, “The Women’s March” sounds like the only purpose is to honor women’s rights, which may discourage those whose main concern is not women’s rights from participating. Those in support of the rights of immigrants, LGBTQ+ individuals, people of color, and the mentally and/or physically disabled should ideally feel more than welcome to attend, but they do not. They feel ostracized from a group who is fighting for inclusion and equality, but they themselves do not feel included, nor that their problems are of equal magnitude.
The name could also deter men from attending the marches. “The Women’s March” sounds like it’s just for women who are walking for equal rights; therefore no man, no matter how strongly he identifies with feminist values, is welcome at the demonstration. The majority of people who plan on attending one of the marches are women, but if the marches are meant to send a message of disapproval of Trump’s rhetoric and promote equality, then shouldn’t the protests represent all groups who wish to speak out?
These protests should be for anyone who disagrees with Trump’s stance on immigration, LGBTQ+ rights, people of color, “bad hombres”, or any other group or topic he has disrespected. But, unfortunately, it has turned into a very specific group of people who all hold one similar belief.
By dedicating the march to one oppressed group of people, it puts women’s rights on a higher pedestal than other oppressed groups. There is no “more deserving” group. We cannot ignore large populations of our country. Women are not more important than those with special needs; those with special needs are not more important than women. Women are not more important than people of color; people of color are not more important than women. Women are not more important than immigrants; immigrants are not more important than women. Women are not more important than men; men are not more important than women.
The Women’s March is for all of us who hope for the day when there is no need to march for equality, but today is not that day. No change will happen from the silent. Let your voice be heard and stand up for what you believe in. We are all equal. We all deserve equality. Everyone’s rights are human rights.