Solidarity: A Collection of Moments from the Women’s March on Madison

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Written and Photographed by Alexandra Folino, Contributing Writer
Special Thanks to Hannah Bauer

Women’s rights. LGBTQ+ rights. Climate change. Race. Class. Age. Ability. The future of America. All are concerns that have filled the nation with tension in light of the recent election of our 45th president, Donald Trump. On Saturday, January 21, 2017, however, the streets of Wisconsin’s capital illustrated anything but complacency and instead embodied a relentless and unapologetic fight for human rights.

We took on the streets of Madison to ask those from all walks of life “what does being at this march mean to you?”

*Note: when discussing women’s rights, it is essential to include all women in the conversation. The use of “pussy” hats and other imagery or phrasing relating to yonic anatomy, while incredibly cis-normative, are direct responses to the repulsive comments made by Donald in a leaked video, and are not—at least in our hope—meant to exclude women whose anatomy is otherwise. To do so would be transphobic, which is not only repugnant to this publication, but to the feminist movement as a whole.

As a publication, we would also like to note that signs which speak on anatomy in terms of gender, while meant with good intentions, are engaging with cis-normative ideas of gender that exclude our trans and gender non-conforming community. There are women who have penises, men who can give birth and some people who don’t engage exclusively with the gender binary at all. Moving forward, we hope that this is something that is included in discussions of feminism and women’s rights, so that we may make those spaces safer and more inclusive for all.

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“She wanted to do this by herself. She was telling us to stay back! That’s what this is about. [This march] gives us a voice as immigrants. It ensures the fact that I am fighting for my daughter to have equal treatment and to be seen the same as everybody else.”

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“I am here for my children and I am here for my family to let them know that it’s important to love, respect, support and be kind to everyone. It is important to stand up for that, and [now they will know] that they are not alone and that there are other people here willing to stand up with them.“

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“I am here to express solidarity. Everybody needs to have support shown to them.”

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“I had some guy go off on me yesterday and I really practice being mindful. He said ‘What would you know, woman? You don’t know what it’s like to defend our country.’ I said ‘Really? Turn around sir.’ I had my marine corps cuff on. My son is in the military. My uncle was in the military. I was in the military. My grandfather. His grandfather. Don’t belittle us into something so small.

The reason why I painted my face was because my great-grandmother is [Native American]. She is Quapaw. So I am representing her and all indigenous people too.”

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“Brown girl respect!”

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“Today is an opportunity to march with my daughter and for her to get involved with the cause. She has been very interested in the whole election process. She has been upset, as have we all. So we are doing something about it!”

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“[Today] means coming out to convene with other like-minded people and show that our voices are going to be heard.”

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“I think the difficulty in answering [this question] shows the complexity of the issues that we are facing. A lot of people were saying that we are all yelling about different things, but we are all united against the same. I think it’s an important show of solidarity going into the next four years and we have a lot to fight for, but I think if everyone stays engaged, continues to contact their legislators, take it beyond just marching in the streets and [vote], then we will be in a much better place.”

It’s amazing to see so many people out here. It’s love. It’s peace.”

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“I have three daughters. I am just hoping that when they get old enough to vote in an election, the choice is just between two dignified candidates.”

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“I was arrested at Gwynn Oak Park in the 1960s. [It] was [at] a big amusement park in Baltimore. In those days, it was quite common that black people were not allowed in. So there was a big movement to integrate the park. One Sunday, when there had been a lot of people arrested [there], I read about it in the paper. My husband that day said he wanted to take the kids canoeing. I said ‘no, let’s take the kids and go get arrested at Gwynn Oak Park.’ He said he wasn’t sure if demonstration was the way to go, but I said ‘I’m not sure either!’ I was surprised when he said ‘OK!’ So, we piled into the car. Trying to go in[to the park], we would match [ourselves] up with a black person. The minute you stepped [into the park] you were surrounded by policemen. I was carrying my young son, one of three, in my arms. We were arrested and of course people were taking pictures. I feel like this is a great gift I have given my sons: being arrested.”

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“This is the beginning of getting organized. Meeting people and getting organized so when we have the chance, we can change things for our country.”

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“I shouldn’t have to be here protesting today. The time for this type of unity and turnout was at the polls. But I think that the energy from this movement, that is echoed across the world, will unrelentingly show that love is stronger than hate.”

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“It means that love is love is love.”

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“Being here means showing everybody that we are not OK with the situation – that we are going to keep fighting and keep resisting this line of policy and this attitude.”

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“My granddaughter is half Muslim,* so being here for me and my kids—I have seven adopted kids—… is very important because the amount of racism that has increased, and hate crimes have increased since the election. It’s really, of course very bothersome [to me] because it means a lot for my family. And so, I want to make sure that she has a strong future.”

*Being Muslim implies that one is a follower of the Islamic faith, but it does not imply a specific ethnic or racial group, as was intended here. This is likely just a small mix up on the part of the speaker!

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“This morning we told our children that Donald Trump has said a lot of mean things and we are not OK with that. We are here to show support to other people that agree with us – that it’s not OK to be mean. We are going to find kindness and we are going to show love.”

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“I have a daughter and I think it’s really important for me to show her what I believe in.”

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“This means standing up for my rights.”

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“Being here today means showing my support for all people’s rights, specifically women’s rights which are especially in danger with the incoming administration.”

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“I wanted to be here to protest what Trump is doing.”

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“Being out here means everything. For me, I am always involved in politics, so when something goes wrong, [I know that] you need to make your voice heard. I think people often forget that women’s rights and minorities rights are still a problem in our country.”

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“It means coming together in solidarity, and standing up for equal rights for everyday. I am a mom, a sister, a daughter – and I think it’s showing my son what we all need to be doing in a dark time.”

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“We have four long years ahead of us. We need to gather our courage, stand together and fight with everything we [have] against this reactionary administration and this horrible man.”

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“[This march] means some freedom in the world. This really matters to me.”

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“Being here means solidarity and uplifting ourselves. [It means] reminding ourselves that we are not alone.”

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“We are done being polite, and we are done asking for the rights that we deserve. I read this quote today that [said] ‘I can’t wait for my uterus to have as many rights as guns.’ That’s how I feel, and I am ready to get what we deserve.”

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“I think it is important to speak out about the backwards direction that I am afraid we are headed after this recent election…we have made progress over recent years, but I don’t want to go backwards. We [have] more forward-thinking to do. To be taking a huge step backwards and denying people what every American should have a right to is crazy!”

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“The march means a future for my children and my girls. It means a united world and country.”

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“I am sixty years old, so I have seen this back when I was a young girl in my twenties. I saw the struggle and the fight for equality and women’s rights. Young women today have [received] the benefit of that. Some of them of become complacent – but I see this as a catalyst.”

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“Women and men deserve the same treatment.”

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“Now is the time to stand up.”

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“We have been working and fighting for women’s rights for so long. We can’t believe we are here still doing this same thing as grandmothers now! I marched in DC for reproductive rights back in 1995, and here we are again, 20 years later.”

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“I feel like [today] means we can speak out, that we can let our voices be heard and that we can just…..grrr!”

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“I decided to come down here with my wife and my grandsons to be a part of the event. I think in light of what I am seeing, I would say that we need to have justice for all, and justice for everybody – and not just for a select few. We need to support all the diversity in this country.”

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“It means everything. I [first] felt like Walker has stolen my state. Now, I feel like my country is gone. But, you know what, the people are still here. The people are here, and we will not be silenced. Solidarity.”

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“To be here with everyone, supporting this awesome cause is the best feeling in the world. It makes me feel good that everyone is able to come here together after such a detrimental election…everyone is here to support each other.”

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“This is an unfortunate opportunity – unfortunate because we need to come together – but an opportunity that we do get to come together and see just what kind of support we have. When we sit alone in our houses and feel isolated, and feel like the world is coming down on us, it’s hard to get through the day. But coming out, and realizing ‘hey, we are all in this together’ and [noticing that] there is a lot of people that feel the way that we do…that will give us the energy that we need to make a difference.”

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“[This is about] our right of expression. [We are here] to get people to come together and change the rhetoric of hate.”

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“Today means fighting against bigotry and hatred and everybody coming together and showing support for each other.”

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“We love ourselves. We just want to have everybody else love us too because we are mystic beings.”

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“I am here with my wife and our baby to ensure that he has got as bright of a future ahead of him as we could hope for. We are fighting for that.”

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“Today gives us a chance to express our opinions about what is happening in this country.”

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“I just want to show my support for all of the people who need it.”

One Reply to “Solidarity: A Collection of Moments from the Women’s March on Madison”

  1. Thanks for being there and capturing the diversity of signs and people who believe in dignity and compassion. It was, indeed, a wonderful day of people coming together to stand up and speak out for our rights and our nation.

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