Students of Today, Activists of Today


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BY COURTNEY DUNNING

On Saturday, January 21st, Cincinnati was swarmed by the color pink. Around 10,000 people, including a handful of Mariemont students, gathered at Washington Park to take part in Cincinnati’s Sister March, a more local version of the Women’s March on Washington (WMW).

The WMW, which was sparked by a Facebook post by Hawaiian grandmother Teresa Shook, inspired “Sister Marches” in 300 cities and 33 countries around the world.

Mariemont students Natalie Weiss, Helen Kemper, Nina Payaitis, Courtney Dunning, Mac Brokamp, Maddy Moriarty and Madison Smith created homemade signs to voice their opinions while marching (PHOTO BY DUNNING)

“I felt an obligation to go as someone who believes in progressive values and doesn’t agree with most [of the] incoming administration policies regarding women rights.” says senior, Scott Overbey.

Within the first hour, participants gathered east of Cincinnati Music Hall and heard representatives from Planned Parenthood, Women Helping Women, Black Lives Matter, the AMOS Project and the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati, all focused on giving a voice to those who don’t feel equally represented in government.  

It’s estimated 470,000 people marched to the U.S. Capitol, Shelley captured this photo as she marched among them  (PHOTO BY SHELLEY)

At 1 o’clock participants took to the streets as they walked a half mile from Washington Park to City Hall.

“The experience really humbled me. It was amazing to see how this cause brought together the people of Cincinnati, United States, and the world.” says senior, Helen Kemper. “It also brought me closer with other feminists and activists within my own school.”

“The energy of the March has definitely carried over with me and I believe it will continue to motivate me to become politically involved as a young citizen of the United States.” says senior, Nina Payaitis.

Although an exact number has not been recorded, The New York Times and crowd scientists at Manchester Metropolitan University estimate at least 470,000 people attended the March in the nation’s capital.

Among those participants, a handful hailed from Mariemont.

“I couldn’t miss the opportunity to go to D.C. and participate in making history,” says junior, Emery Shelley. “I was one of the first times I felt truly empowered, I was surrounded by people who really wanted to do something and create real positive change.”

Ages of marchers ranged from newborns to elderly, this young boy held a sign stating “GIRLS are STRONG (and boys too)”  (PHOTO BY DUNNING)

Junior, Kennedy Moi, who also attended the March in Washington D.C. says, “I don’t feel personally affected by all of the issues at hand, but I wanted to march for those who are. My grandmother marched for very similar rights in her 20s and I felt I owed it to her and women everywhere.”

“All different types of people were there, connecting with other people, sharing stories, and hugging, just really positive stuff.” Moi adds.