Story by Alice Samberg
“It is our duty to fight.”
A record crowd of protesters Saturday chanted those words in unison in downtown Reno as women and men alike gathered to advocate women’s rights and protest Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration.
Reno’s Women’s March, which city officials estimated drew more than 10,000 people, coincided with hundreds of other protests all over the world: people in New York City, Washington D.C., Paris, Melbourne, Nairobi and even scientific researchers in Antarctica, held peaceful demonstrations on Saturday, as well.
Donald Trump’s inauguration was literally protested on all seven continents.
“It is our duty to love each other and protect each other.”
Regardless of political beliefs, the sense of unity in the downtown city plaza was nothing short of palpable. As I weaved in and out of the huge crowd that day, bumping shoulders and blocking views, I was met with understanding smiles, gentle warnings from older ladies about the not-quite-melted-ice on the ground from Friday’s storm, and even offered a pair handwarmers after somebody realized I had no gloves on in the 20-degree weather. After months of ugly political clashes, it was nice to be reminded of how kind most people are.
What quickly became apparent as I interviewed various marchers was how badly the community had been craving a feeling of togetherness following Trump’s victory in the presidential election.
“You feel really alone when the entire country seems to have voted for somebody that stands against everything you are,” McQueen senior Maleah Milner said. “Coming out here and being with other people who think the same things as you, and are here to support each other, is a good change from the rhetoric we’ve had in the political world over the last two months.”
“We have nothing to lose but our chains.”
Many people travelled from outside of the Reno area to partake in the march. I met two best friends, Jill and Lucy, who drove from Douglas County to march through downtown. They both stressed the importance young people play in politics. They encouraged all young people to register to vote and to advocate for everyone’s beliefs, conservatives and liberals alike.
McQueen senior Ashlan Gardella agreed, saying it’s important for high schoolers to be well informed and educated on politics so they can vote for people who accurately represent what they believe.
“This is what democracy looks like.”
Regardless of gender, sexuality and geographic location, millions of people exercised their democratic rights (and human rights) on Saturday to stand up for what they believe in; 200 years after the beginning of the American journey, and people are still fighting the good fight. If nothing else, the Women’s March became a worldwide celebration of the rights we have and the rights we want to keep. It was a nice reminder of the power of the individual voice and the weight of what can be accomplished when people band together.