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Marching in Solidarity Again

(Not just moved this time--due to the zeal--but truly moving!)

Natalie Zembsch, EMC Staff Writer

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On January 20th, 2018, exactly one year after President Trump was inaugurated, we woke up early and bundled up for a drive to Seneca Falls. Signs with phrases like “IKEA has better cabinets” and “Now more than ever, stand up” slid around in our trunk. Two hours later, the only thing left to do before marching was to find a parking spot. Cars lined every street, driveway, and parking lot. The loudspeaker carried inspirational words of unity and political participation out over the city’s rooftops and guided us toward the gathering marchers. We joined the overflow crowd behind the stands and strained to see the speakers. Creative signs surrounded us, many bouncing ideas off signs from marches last year or new issues that had arisen during the past year. “Make America Grateful,” “Boys will be boys held accountable,” and “Insist, resist, persist” were among a few. The people around us ranged from cute swaddled babies to wise aged participants.

About twenty minutes after we arrived, the march began. This part was by far the best experience because we missed out on marching last year due to large crowds — many more people than expected had shown and there had been longer speeches. On the left we passed an enormous papier-mache Trump suit, impeccably detailed.  Most of the signs everywhere were positively demanding change instead of calling for impeachment. I loved how instead of dwelling on his election, we were pushing for an investigation and change. Marching past the city hall, we were serenaded by the Unity Street Band, jamming out jazzy tunes. An avid protester behind me had brought a megaphone with her, and began chants for us to holler back: “This is what democracy looks like!” and “We want a leader, not a racist tweeter!” A group of women lined the sidewalk with corresponding signs that spelled “Question: Do very stable geniuses have off buttons?” and a few ladies also passed out fliers promoting smaller marches urging citizens to be more active in local government. The last corner before the city center had one of my favorite signs, “Not usually a sign guy, but GEEZ!”

When we reached the center, we were met by a huge screen playing a short film on repeat. It had collections and clips of what different groups had been doing for the past year, and people huddled in small groups to watch. A chilly breeze found its way past zippers and scarves, and we decided to hustle back to a Chinese place we’d seen earlier for lunch. A neon orange sign shouted “Impeach now” from the front window of the restaurant, acknowledging level ground with potential customers. This method of drawing people in worked, and it was packed in this little shelter with eight tables. Here we caught up with each other and shared some of the signs that stood out to us. After a quick stroll past the river we decided to head out.

One never leaves a march like this without feeling empowered and ready to take on the world. As we located our car I reflected on my experiences participating in these marches. There is always a sincere sense of comradery, you feel close to strangers you’ve met merely a minute before, and it’s all due to a common cause. We are so unified because of what’s happening in the government.

I often think about how much impact a 16-year old kid can have on the world, and it’s usually quite frustrating. But to all those out there who struggle with this too, know that it only takes one voice to make a difference. It doesn’t matter if it’s through a song, everyday conversation, or an Instagram post, you are being heard somewhere. As Malala Yousafzai famously said, “When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.” Be that voice.

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