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Niles West Students March on Chicago for Human Rights

By Grace Geraghty

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An estimated crowd of 250,000 people attended the Women’s March rally in Chicago on Saturday, Jan. 21 to advocate for issues ranging from women’s rights and racial equality to immigration in the wake of President Donald Trump’s inauguration the previous day.

The rally was a sister-event to the Women’s March on Washington D.C. held the same day; similar events were held across the country, as well as internationally, with at least one related event on every continent. After the crowd surpassed the initial estimate of 75,000, the Chicago march was canceled, with the rally becoming the main event. Despite this, protesters ended up spilling out of Grant Park, eventually blocking traffic on Michigan Avenue.

Many Niles West students participated in the Chicago Women’s March, citing various reasons for throwing their support behind the cause.

“I believe that everyone should be accepted and loved no matter what religion, gender, sexual orientation, or race they belong to. I marched to make sure that any justice that has been undermined was heard,” junior Simone Perrin said. “We should be a nation that embraces everyone’s differences.”

“We’re here to stand up for our rights,” senior and Feminist Club cofounder Rida Yousuf said. Yousuf carried a hand made sign that read, “Respect our existence or expect resistance.”

Reproductive rights were among the various issues protesters are supporting in the wake of Trump issuing an executive order that officially makes it his administration’s policy to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The ACA, more commonly known as Obamacare, currently protects women’s access to affordable reproductive care.

“I’m here to protest for women’s reproductive rights and to raise awareness against the harassment against women,” junior Maureen Khoshaba said. “It’s important because women should have a voice, and they shouldn’t be silenced by the president.”

Some students walked in part to support the important women in their lives.

“I’m marching on behalf of my mom for equal pay,” senior Robbie Merkel said. Merkel made a double-sided sign representing many crucial causes, including immigration rights, women’s rights, and transgender rights.

One main motivator for a lot of the student protesters was the fulfillment of their constitutional right to assemble peacefully for the issues they believe in.

“I think it’s important that everybody has the right to speak about what they believe in, and I think it’s a good form of activism,” senior Soretti Donka said.

“Especially now with the new head of our government, it’s imperative that we’re all exercising our constitutional right to speak out about what we believe in and fighting for what we all need as a country and as a people,” senior Jessye Gassel said.

Participating in the protest left junior Nicole Cardona with renewed hope following Trump’s ascension to the presidency.

“Oddly enough, this past Saturday was one of the best days of my life. We were told not to march, so we danced,” she said. “Seeing so many people come together to spread love gave me so much hope for the future. The fact that it turned from a nationwide movement to a worldwide movement moves my heart; I love humanity.”

Many protest signs mocked Trump directly, referencing his infamous comments about women and immigrants that were showcased during his presidential campaign. Marchers also led and took part in cheers supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, reproductive rights, open immigration policies, and equality.

In response to the trail of Women’s Marches held across the globe, Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway appeared on ABC News on Sunday, Jan 22. to reveal the Trump administration’s thoughts.

“I frankly didn’t see the point. I mean you have a day after [Trump] is uplifting and unifying, and you have folks here being on a diatribe where I think they could have requested a dialogue,” Conway said.

The Washington D.C. march is estimated to have drawn more than 500,000 protesters, with global estimations reaching over one million people.

Video by Jackie Bajric

9 Comments

9 Responses to “Niles West Students March on Chicago for Human Rights”

  1. Conservative on January 29th, 2017 4:18 am

    Why can’t everybody just accept that Trump won office. There is nothing that could stop him now and certainly not people pointlessly marching. What is wrong with feminist. The USA has equal opportunities for both men and women and that is something our new president will promote. There’s a reason only men have been presidents. Women are so useless.

    [Reply]

    feminist9586 Reply:

    who made u, a female! then if girls are useless your basically calling your mother useless. woman are the people who make the population, i’m pretty sure a man did not carry you or anyone else for 9 months. woman are the past, present, and future. people like u is what pollutes the world.

    [Reply]

    An Educated Citizen Reply:

    I agree. Women are so useless. They have no contribution to society. It’s not like they go through the pain of baring and giving birth to a child or help stimulate the economy even though they don’t get paid the same amount as an equally qualified male in the same position. Women are so stupid; they go through the pain of living in a world where they aren’t respected and are described as being able to “grab by the p***y” by the current leader of a free nation. And their stupidity doesn’t even stop their: they even try to fight for their equality despite knowing that there are extremely ignorant people who don’t care for them. And they get even dumber: they still care for these ignorant human beings and choose to coincide with them!! I completely agree with you…women are so useless and dumb, they do nothing for society.

    [Reply]

    A Not Useless Woman Reply:

    First of all, I don’t even know where to begin to respond to your comment so I’m just going to go in order.

    The reason why people are marching is to show that the people who Trump has belittled and insulted will not be silent or forgotten. Suffice it to say, many people are unhappy with the outcome of this past election. Yes he won office, but a majority of Americans did not vote for him. Personally I accept the fact that he’s my president, because that’s a fact, but this doesn’t mean that I have to agree with him. Just because he’s in charge of the country doesn’t mean I won’t stand up for what I believe is right. That’s what these people are doing. They’re standing up and making their voices be heard.

    Second thing, don’t you see something wrong with your second sentence? “There is nothing that could stop him now.” That’s a scary thought when you think about it. What you’re saying is that Trump can do whatever he wants and nobody can stop him. Why should he have the power all to himself? That’s not a democracy. That is not what our country was founded upon. Everyone should be considered equal in this country, but are they? That’s a different story.

    You say that there is equal opportunities for both men and women in the USA, I have just one thing to say: Are you kidding me? According to American Association of University Women, in 2015, women were paid around 80% of what their male counterparts earned for doing the exact same work (http://www.aauw.org/research/the-simple-truth-about-the-gender-pay-gap/). In fact, this number dropped even more when looking at the earnings of women of color. Do you think this number dramatically increased in one year? (I’ll give you a hint; no, no it didn’t) If there’s one thing I learned from sociology, it’s that no one is equal. Society likes to think that this is not the case, but rarely is anyone ever truly considered equal. People are given different opportunities because everyone is different. Also, please tell me, how will Trump promote equality? This is a man that has joked about “locker room talk,” objectified women, and insulted women purely based on their appearance. But you know what, maybe you’re right. Inequality is a myth and Donald Trump loves women.

    You may not agree with her politics, but it’s hard to argue the fact that Hillary Clinton is more qualified to be the president than Trump. Trump is a businessman, not a politician. If the president were to be decided based on popularity rather than electoral college, Donald Trump would not be the president right now. That’s the reason why we haven’t had a woman president. Not because women are “so useless.” Let’s think about that sentence for a minute. If women are so useless, then who gave birth to you? Last time I checked, men can’t give birth. I’m no scientist, but I’m pretty sure that men aren’t equipped with the right genitalia for that to happen.

    Please, next time, think before you post.

    [Reply]

    Conservative Reply:

    It’s not my fault all you butt hurt feminist can’t accept the truth. There are countries out there such as in African where women are mutilated of their genitals (in case anyone challenges that just look it up for yourself) or countries like Saudi Arabia where they can not even drive or do things without there husbands. Meanwhile in America? Woman are granted reproductive rights, able to drive, get jobs, and actually do something but yet women and feminist still complain alike even when granted so much. Also, the whole pay gap thing is a myth, just a myth made by a bunch of feminist so they have other reasons to complain of besides there hormones. As for our president, he respects all citizens alike and you liberals need to face it. There is a group out there called “Women for Trump”. Nothing is going to come in his way not angry liberals or annoying feminist. Women just need to go release all there excessive hormones/feelings somewhere else and maybe then can they actually be of use to our country. Hopefully the president will do something about this.

    [Reply]

  2. Joe on February 5th, 2017 11:02 pm

    Lol at all the buthurt feminists in the comment section. Yeah, I’m sure the American society of women is not biased in there reporting. That’s like watching the Young Turks for your news. I am willing to bet you all my life savings that your dad has said things worse about women before. Every normal dude talks like that. In reality the popular vote argument is bullshit, because if you take out Cali he wins by a wide margin. Clinton accepts millions from Sudia Arabia, where women cannot even drive, walk alone in public or show more than they’re forehead, and gays are thrown off buildings. Guess what, if you have taken basic biology you would realilize that babies cannot be created without men. To all you buthurt feminists, think before you post next time.

    [Reply]

    A.A. Reply:

    *butt hurt
    *their
    *Saudi Arabia
    *butt hurt
    Without a woman, you wouldn’t have gotten this grammar lesson. XOXO A.A.

    [Reply]

    Conservative Reply:

    Joe I couldn’t more.

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Lol because I spelled ” butt hurt” wrong twice, Saudi Arabia once and used the wrong there. Go back to your safe space.

    [Reply]

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