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The Quindecim has 103 articles published.

Goucher Students March for Women’s Rights

by

Usha Kaul, Staff Writer

February 15th, 2017

On January 21, 2017, the day following the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump, over 4,956,000 people all over the world marched through the streets in order to send a bold message to our new administration. The Women’s March on Washington’s (WMW) Organization stated, “we are confronted with the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear.”

The Women’s March on Washington (WMW) was founded by a group of white women. Its intentions are that everyone can participate regardless of race, gender, class, religion, status or way you chose to vote. Hundreds of thousands of people took planes, trains, cars, buses to get to their nearest march. Almost all the major cities superseded their expectations of numbers of participants. There were a total of 418 Marches in the Unites States and 97 marches internationally, from the Antarctic Peninsula to the Congo, in countries such as France, Germany, and India. These numbers do not include the virtual marches and many pop-up marches that took place. Online marches made the Women’s March more accessible to people with disabilities.

The Women’s March was a time for people to  come together and recognize that women’s right are human rights and that discrimination is unacceptable. The WMW stated that, “The rhetoric of the past election cycle has insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us – immigrants of all statuses, Muslims and those of diverse religious faiths, people who identify as LGBTQIA, Native people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, survivors of sexual assault – and our communities are hurting and scared.” The march on January 21st was just the first step in combatting this new challenge. Since this was the first day in office for President Trump, many individuals took this opportunity to protest other issues that affect the targeted communities listed above. There were signs about women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, Black Lives Matter and many more. Protesters sported posters supporting racial diversity. But don’t get me wrong. There was also an emphasis on the women’s issues. Many posters conveyed messages in support of planned parenthood and women’s empowerment in general.

A group of Goucher Students led by seniors, Usha Kaul and Sophia Robinson, departed from Goucher around 4:30AM. They were able to secure a spot on Washington D.C.’s stage where a handful of important speeches were taking place. They stood for around 7 hours and marched for another 2 hours. Speakers at the Washington D.C. March included actress and chair of the Artists Table of Women’s March on Washington, America Ferrera, Distinguished Professor Emerita at UC Santa Crus Angela Davis, filmmaker Michael Moore, actress and activist Scarlett Johansson, the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Dontre Hamilton, Eric Garner and Jordan Davis along with many other wonderful activists and directors. Sofia Robinson stated, “The Women’s March was an incredibly empowering experience. People from all walks of life came together in solidarity, and stood up for themselves and everyone who is marginalized and not regarded as equals in the social, political, and private realms.”

Personally, I, Usha Kaul, was in awe of the immense amount of support from the entire world as we took a stand against our new government. As an Indian-American, I take pride in who I am and I want to continue to live in the United States and thrive here as such. I never want to be told I can’t. It’s part of my existence. My grandparents were a huge influence on me growing up. They fought for peace in India during partition and then I am proud to say that my grandmother, once in the United States, put on her sari and was the first Indian woman to run as a democrat for the NJ state assembly. I march for her. I march because I want the same freedom. I march because I am Indian and proud.

Violent Protests Set Divisive Tone For Trump Presidency

by

Sean O’Flaherty, Staff Writer

February 15th, 2017

An atmosphere of toxicity hung over the city. As Donald Trump prepared to be inaugurated as the 45th president. There was a palpable tension hanging in the air. Tension that had built up after a year’s worth of anger stemming from one of the most divisive presidential campaigns in American history.

Entering into the National Mall, Trump supporters and protesters had an uneasy coexistence and they made their way through the security checkpoints. At several checkpoints large groups of protesters linked arm to arm blockaded the street to prevent Trump supporters to be able to attend. Besides a few verbal confrontations and a standoff with the police, the protests were largely peaceful in the beginning of the day. On the National Mall near the Washington Monument, there continued to be this unusual mix of groups opposing and supporting the President. Due to the presence of security officials civility was maintained while President Trump took the oath of office and delivered his inaugural address. It seemed at this point that the rest of the day would be relatively peaceful, as the crowds dispersed with no confrontations.

However, it appeared that as former President Obama flew away on Marine one, he took America’s self restraint with him. Within an hour after the end of the ceremony there were reports of violent “Black Bloc” anarchists rampaging through the streets of DC committing acts of vandalism and assaulting Trump supporters and police officers. As I made my way towards Franklin Square, the reported location of these rioters, I received a text informing me that 90 people had already arrested and there was an escalating violent situation. As I approached Mcpherson Square witnessed these groups firsthand as I came across a rally of some sort. A band on stage played music interrupted only by a range of speakers. There was a assortment of radical far left groups occupying the space, the combination of which conjured up a scene which could have been out of the 1960s. Soon after I arrived a group of Trump supporters came and confronted this groups, as these groups shouted back and forth some escalated into direct physical violence. I noticed further up the road there was a very large crowd of people blocking off traffic. I made my ways towards the scene and stumbled into the heart of the violence reported from earlier. Masked protesters faced off against riot police while others were burning a pile of trash in the street and smashing up a nearby limousine and unmarked police car.  Media from all over the world looked on as the situation deteriorated further. One rioter walked past me with a tire he claimed to had stolen off a Trump supporters car. Within what only seemed like moments later this man had tossed the tire onto the limousine and set it on fire. As the burning rubber mixed with liquor bottles, which had been in the limousine, a large and uncontrolled fire continued to grow. The blaze grew so large that people around me were worried that the engine was going to explode and frantically were telling people to back away from the blaze. Word was spreading that the Washington Post building in which this scene was next to was catching fire. The police realizing the severity of what was happening began to push forward into the crowd causing panic as they shot off tear gas canisters. The large mass of both media and protestors rushing to escape the situation created for a moment a dangerous stampede of people. The police then formed a protective ring around limousine as the fire was put out by first responders.

In the following hour the police set up a perimeter several city blocks wide around Franklin, Mcpherson, and Farragut squares. Because there were several city sanctioned protest events within these squares, there seemed to be some level of confusion within the police and national guard forces. For the rest of the afternoon this chaotic display unfolded of a protest concert playing in the background of a back and forth battle between “Black Bloc” anarchists and riot police in the street. Rocks and bottles were being tossed at the police who answered with tear gas, flashbang grenades, rubber bullets and pepper spray. Throughout the square smaller trash fires were being lit and surrounded by groups of people. I suspect the police worried about a PR nightmare if they were to crack down too forcefully, hoping that it would all fizzle out as the night came. At around 8:30 Franklin Square was still occupied by large groups of protesters and another confrontation between Trump supporters and protesters led to several more fights breaking out. Suddenly, the riot police began to move into the square and break up the remaining crowd in a very coordinated and strategic way. Those who were not arrested in this initial move by the police broke off into smaller groups and began to flee down different streets into other parts of downtown. The group I followed decided to attempt and reach the convention center, where the inaugural ball was being held. The police, realizing, this pursued this group with speed and intensity and eventually was able to surround it in an intersection. Realizing they were not going to be able to reach the convention center, they began to sit down and block the traffic in the intersection. After about 20 minutes, the police started arresting people who remained in the intersection and the day ended in an anticlimactic whimper. The end result the day’s violence was nine police officers injured, six of which were hospitalized, and 217 protesters arrested.

Based on what I saw that day, I believe that the violence and divisiveness will be the tone of the next four years of Trumps presidency. The level of anger that I witnessed leaves me very skeptical on whether any common ground will be reached

Where Does White Activism Fit In?

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People are blocked from passing Trump Tower during the Women’s March in New York City on January 21, 2017.
Hundreds of thousands of people flooded US cities Saturday in a day of women’s rights protests to mark President Donald Trump’s first full day in office. / AFP / Bryan R. Smith (Photo credit should read BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)

Sarah Hochberg, Opinion Editor

February 15th, 2017

On January 21st, a day after the Inauguration, I joined the ranks of women from all over the country to march. It was an amazing moment to be a part of, to experience so many people showing up and coming out for a unified cause. While the specific goals of the march were wide and varied, I did have my own set of ideas for why I was marching. My personal agenda was to stand for the rights of all female-identifying people to receive health care in a safe, non-judgmental platform. I believe strongly that women should have rights over their own bodies, and should be able to act as individuals, without government interference that men don’t experience.

Immediately upon exiting the 6 train at 51st street to make my way with a few friends to the march route, I began noticing some traits of the march that surprised me. A lot of signs and slogans were trans-exclusionary, focusing within the gender binary instead of including the range of possible gender identities. Looking around, I saw pockets of women of color but the large majority of marchers were middle class white women, which surprised me in the streets of New York. The general atmosphere seemed odd as well; it had a righteous-yet-festival type of vibe, like an animal rights benefit concert. There were group photo shots and friends gathered, but the march lacked a sense of urgency, a sense of the full weight Trump’s administration and his policies will have groups of underrepresented minorities.

This is not to call out what was one of the largest gatherings of people in my time, nor discredit all the good I believe the Woman’s March did, but rather the complete opposite. This is to call myself out. As I marched with my friends, I noticed I belonged a little too well. I was surrounded by other white, middle-to-upper-class college students. There wasn’t a fear of authority, or a real sense of resistance. We were a collection of, largely, young adults who joined because we share a hatred of Trump but only a vague notion of how to turn that into a constructive resistance of the administration’s policies. The Woman’s March, which was a wonderful, beautiful and empowering experience shared by women across the country, did not include as many women of color as it could have, making it a movement I had mixed feelings about joining.

In a political climate where every major decision feels like a backwards step for the country I love so much, acts like calling my representatives, sending postcards (courtesy of Roosevelt Institute at Goucher) and volunteering at local organizations whenever possible feel like I’m making a tangible effort to oppose the government in the only ways I know how. But within the paradox of white activism, I’m unsure of my place in a march or protest. I want my feminism to be intersectional, and my activism to be inclusive, but I’m unsure how to use my white privilege in a way that doesn’t take away someone’s voice. As a white privileged college student, I want to participate without dominating a space.

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