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Girls Just Wanna Have Fun-damental Rights

Lisa Zheutlin

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[ot-caption title=”Protesters at the Women’s March in West Palm Beach at the Meyer Amphitheater. (via Lisa Zheutlin, senior)”]

In the hours after Donald Trump’s Inauguration, millions of women worldwide mobilized to participate in various women’s marches. Among these were the local Miami Women’s March and the West Palm Beach Women’s March taking place throughout the day on January 21st. The goal of these marches was to send a clear message to Donald Trump in response to his comments about women, while also peacefully supporting women worldwide by pushing for gender equality. According to an official statement by National Organizers with edits from South Florida Activism, the event served as unification for “women, immigrants…Muslims, people who identify as LGBTQIA, Native and Indigenous people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, the economically impoverished and survivors of sexual assault” who may have felt ostracized by Trump’s comments that surfaced during the election. [spacer height=”10px” id=”2″]

The West Palm Beach Women’s March took place at the Meyer Amphitheatre, with an estimated 7,000 people in attendance. In this local march’s Facebook group, organizers reminded the participants to “maintain a positive relationship with the men and women of our law enforcement” and asserted that “absolutely no violent or destructive behavior will be tolerated,” further emphasizing the peaceful nature of these protests.[spacer height=”10px” id=”2″]

Starting at noon, the event began with a performance by Mel and Vinnie, two local singers and musicians. Next, Florence Mascott, a veteran of the Women’s Airforce, came to the stage to briefly speak about her experiences as a woman in war.[spacer height=”10px” id=”2″]

A speaker at the event was Ted Deutsch (D), a representative for the 22nd congressional district.   Deutsch started off his speech proclaiming he was the son of a strong woman, the husband of a strong woman, and the father of two strong women. Describing himself as a feminist, Deutsch received roaring applause from the audience. Ending his speech with a quote from Hillary Clinton, Deutsch evoked strong feelings from the protesters regarding the recent election.[spacer height=”10px” id=”2″]

Jeri Muoio (D), the Mayor of West Palm Beach, came to the stage to assure her constituents that the county of West Palm would continue to fight for social justice and gender equality. Another inspirational speech came from Alex Smith, a junior at G-Star High School. She spoke about her experience with activism and Planned Parenthood. Her school’s lackluster sex-ed program inspired her to bring Planned Parenthood to her school to give a more well rounded education to her peers.[spacer height=”10px” id=”2″]

Kay Jacobs-Reed, a mother of two disabled children and a teacher, was the next speaker to the stage and emphasized the importance of tolerance. Trump’s mocking of a disabled reporter could have been the inspiration for this, as there has been a push for inclusivity ever since that occurred.[spacer height=”10px” id=”2″]

Star Fae, the founder of the event, read a poem about the Women’s March and also spoke about her creation of the event. She said she was debating just attending the Miami Women’s March, but then realized that there should be one in West Palm Beach as well. A lifelong activist, Fae promotes “civil, human, environmental, and economic justice from a grassroots perspective.” [spacer height=”10px” id=”2″]

A definite highlight of the event was a performance by The Raging Grannies, a group of elderly women who sing original songs at protests.[spacer height=”10px” id=”2″]

Of course, there were also conversations about climate change throughout the event, and flyers were being handed out for the People’s Climate Movement, a march in Washington D.C. on April 29th.[spacer height=”10px” id=”2″]

Seniors Sydni Weisberg, Lisa Zheutlin, Evin Rothschild, and Jodie Kahan at the West Palm Beach Women’s March.

Since the Facebook event encouraged signs, the lawn was covered with protestors’ signs, as thousands of attendees used their creativity to prove their points. Popular signs included the phrases, “Women’s rights are human rights,” “My body, my choice, “Nasty women make the best scientists,” “Girls just wanna have fun-damental rights” and more. “Pussy hats,” which are beanies knit with cat ears started by the Pussyhat Project, were popular for the event as well, and thousands were worn to the Washington D.C. event.[spacer height=”10px” id=”2″]

Some Pine Crest students and Type One members attended the event, including senior Sydni Weisberg. Speaking of her experience at the event, she recounts, “I thought it was cool to see a group of complete strangers come together to lean on each other and work together.  Even though people are sad and scared about the future, spirits were high at the West Palm event.  Being a small part of this worldwide protest was a really empowering experience.” [spacer height=”10px” id=”2″]

Overall, January 21st will go down in the history books as millions of women protested for equality. Not just an anti-Trump protest, this event served as unification for millions of people across the globe. But in the aftermath of these protests, it is important to remember that this is just the beginning. The push for gender equality cannot end here, and the world is watching to see what peaceful resistance will happen next.[spacer height=”10px” id=”2″]

Sources: Palm Beach County Women’s March Facebook Page

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