Women March with a Will

By MAYA MASHEB

Although these teachers could not attend the official march in Washington due to a weekend in-service course, during their lunch break they gathered and demonstrated their support.

While many leaders such as Cecile Richards and Gloria Steinem along with celebrities such as Scarlett Johansson, Lena Dunham, Madonna, and Katy Perry were in attendance at the January Women’s March on Washington, so were a few Jericho teachers. Social Studies teacher, Ms. Ornstein, attended the event with her husband and two teenage sons. She made the decision to go back in November and said, “For me, it was both political and personal. I was stunned, to be honest, that someone who had bragged about sexual assault wasn’t a deal breaker for many people. That was what initially led me to want to attend and raise my voice.” Ms. Ornstein also believes being a political activist from a young age has helped her to understand “the power of mass numbers of people to affect what goes on in this country and show a different way of looking at things.” She therefore found it important to be part of the March.

Similarly, English teacher Ms. Bouler, who went with her daughter and two friends, enjoyed how the march was a “great cross-section of a lot of people” and “a great way to bring attention to an issue.” She said, “I went to the Women’s March because I wanted our president to know that there are certain priorities that his constituents had. Also, I felt that the tone of the election indicated that he didn’t understand the importance of LGBTQ rights and the environment, so I felt it was important to go advocate for them.” She believes that it was important for her to attend, because as a democracy, “we don’t just have the right to speak up, but an obligation to do so.”

Many of the marchers wore pink hats to clearly depict their support.

English teacher Ms. Valenza was inspired to go to the march along with her sister and was pleased with the success and diversity of the “record-breaking march.” She said, “I was surprised by how diverse the crowd was as far as cultures, ethnicities, gender and age. I saw everyone from little kids to very elderly women and men.”

Since the march, citizens across the nation, including Jericho teachers, have been continuing to take a stand for their beliefs. For example, the Women’s March has encouraged that its followers take “10 Actions for the first 100 Days Challenge” which gives the participants a task every ten days to complete, such as writing a postcard to a senator about important issues that should be given more attention. Ms. Valenza is one of the many participants and believes that this will “keep the spirit and conversation going.” She personally wrote about Trump’s passiveness towards environmental issues and her dissatisfaction towards Betsy Devos assuming the job of Education Secretary.

Similarly, Ms. Ornstein has been taking action in various ways. She said, “I have been calling Congresspeople and Senators, organizing via social media and friendships, and given financial support to organizations that I have not given to in a very long time and encouraging others to do the same.”

Finally, Ms. Bouler said, “I’ve organized a group of people who have made phone calls to legislators. But, more interestingly, we organized a Valentine’s Day card drive, sending a ‘thank you’ to leaders who have shown courage and have stood up for justice. We’ve sent out, across the country, about two hundred cards, and my idea was published in the ‘Washington Post’ on Friday, February 10th.” She has also been planning a rally in upstate New York in opposition of a proposed oil pipeline.

Read the article that Ms. Bouler was featured in here.

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