By: Grace Graves and Kate Westrick
The day after President Trump’s controversial inauguration, men and women all across the country took to the streets for the Women’s March in protest. While the main event happened in Washington D.C., protests broke out many major cities across the country. They marched to “send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights.” Even in Chattanooga, TN,which went overwhelmingly for Trump in both the primary and general election, there were thousands of people gathered to rally for both women’s and general human rights.
Several participants explained why they were marching. Madison Baldwin, a senior at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC), said, “free press… is what makes America great.” She fears her biracial and gay little sisters will feel ostracized in Trump’s America. She said, “This is not America. Trump is not America. That is not how everybody feels.” On top of all of that, she worries about Trump’s un-inclusive rhetoric, the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the fact that he’s “violently unqualified.”
A Dayton local, Sandra, marched too. With the chants of “love trumps hate” in the background she explained why she attended. She participated because of the racist rhetoric in the campaign. She marched in solidarity with the Mexican immigrants because they are not the “reason for our country’s downfall.” She opposes the wall and a Muslim registry. She clarified, “We don’t register any set of people in this country. That leads to encampment and that never works well.” She explained that America is a nation of immigrants and Americans need to rise up against the rhetoric that immigrants aren’t welcome. She thinks Trump “used classic white supremacy in his campaign” that must be stood up to.
Elizabeth Gailey, a communication professor who specializes in race and gender studies at UTC also participated. When asked why she was there, she said that “climate change, gay rights, transgender rights, schools” were the reasons she marched. . Jake Ballser, a Chattanooga native and a student of Professor Gailey chimed in by stating, “The best about this is we didn’t realize there would be this many people here. You feel really united here, because you always feel like you’re alone.” He concluded, “It’s nice to know Chattanooga’s not as bad as I thought.”
This event saw an even larger turnout than originally predicted, with several thousand participating. People of every race, age, and religion unified under the banner of standing up and fighting for the human rights of all people. While this is the message that they marched under, the rest of America recieved a difference message.
These people are fighting for rights that are not being threatened. Trump has undoubtedly said divisive things, but the president does not have unilateral power they assert. The Founding Fathers thought about this long ago when they wrote the Constitution and made sure that America is a country of checks and balances. As the protests continue, time will tell how the next four years will pass.
Grace Graves is a political communication major. She is the president of Bryan College’s Turning Point USA chapter and serves as a political correspondent on the paper. When she isn’t reading about current events, you can probably find her at your closest coffee shop worrying about her future. You can follow her on Twitter @gracegraves2 or connect with her on LinkedIn (please endorse her skills).
Kate Westrick studies political science, history, and any public policy she can get her hands on. She serves as a political correspondent for the Bryan College Triangle, participates in intercollegiate debate, and occasionally serves on the campus worship team. She can usually be found in the library drinking La Croix and talking about politics, the Myers-Briggs personality test, or her future tiny house.