By Jacob Kryzsiak
On January 21st, 2017, Americans from across the country traveled to Washington D.C. to participate in the Women’s March on Washington. Similar marches, now being called “sister marches,” were organized to support the protesters in Washington D.C. These sister marches took place nationally in multiple American cities Internationally, marches took place in London, Paris, and Nairobi, for example.
Janel Green, Blynne Olivieri, and Gina Gareau-Clark created the Atlanta March for Social Injustice and Women. According to the City of Atlanta Police Department, more than 60,000 people participate in the march that started at the Center for Civil and Human Rights and concluded at the Georgia State Capitol.
Many were skeptical of the protest due to the riots that took place on the same day as President Donald Trump’s inauguration, but organizers made a public statement that emphasized that this would be a peaceful protest.
“The Atlanta March for Social Injustice and Women will be a peaceful demonstration of solidarity, bringing together members of underrepresented communities, women, and their allies from Georgia and nationally,” said an organizer on the march’s Facebook page.
The Atlanta Police Department reported no arrests or incidents had taken place. Officers were highly respected throughout the march by protesters and even received hugs and high fives as seen in their Facebook video here.
The march officially started after U.S. Representative for the 5th congressional district of Georgia, John Lewis, made a speech to motivate and inspire all of those who attended the event.”I know something about marching! Don’t let anyone turn you around,” he said before leading the crowd to the Georgia State Capitol.
Despite the name of the event, organizers invited various groups to represent their voices in the march, not just women. Some organizations that arrived to show support included various churches from across all of Georgia, Black Lives Matter, and the oldest environmental club in America, the Sierra Club. Laura Breyfogle, the chapter leader of LaGrange’s Sierra Club chapter, headed a group that participated in the march
When asked to make a statement, Travis Towns, a LaGrange local and Sierra Club member, took the opportunity to voice his reason for protesting.
“I don’t have anything to say that hasn’t been said better by others,” he said. Civil rights may very well be lost for women and the LGBTQ community. Although [they are] unbelievable setbacks, those rights can be regained later. What absolutely cannot wait is our environment.”
This concern for the environment came before President Donald Trump signed an executive order to resume negotiations on the controversial Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines just three days later. The LaGrange Sierra Club claims it will continue to protest until these projects are halted permanently.
Overall, the march has been an amazing event. This will be a movement, not a moment.
Other marchers included LaGrange College alumna Trayton Carson-Tanner, class of 2015.
“The march isn’t just a protest against the president,” she said. “We know that isn’t going to change. It is more of a statement to [Donald Trump] and the world that we do not agree with sexism, racism, misogyny, and homophobia. Overall, the march has been an amazing event. This will be a movement, not a moment.”
According to Matt Broomfield’s article for The Independent, the Women’s March on Washington D.C. has become the largest, single-day, political demonstration in history. More than 2.1 million people have been reported to have marched on January 21st in the United States alone. With international protesters being counted, the number increases to 4.8 million, according to the latest count at WomensMarch.com on January 23rd. Numbers like these suggest that Atlanta and other parts of the nation can expect more marches in the near future.