‘If that’s not strong, show me what is’ — kids on why they marched on DC
One thing was clear about the Women’s March on Washington (and about the marches in the rest of the world): This was not a protest that belonged to one generation. From great-grandmothers in wheelchairs to toddlers holding up their own handmade signs, all ages and genders were out in force, celebrating the opportunity to have their voices heard.
We’ve heard from protesters everywhere that the mood was overwhelmingly positive and peaceful. We can’t help but wonder if part of that atmosphere might have come from the energy of the tweens and teens in attendance. Call us biased, but we were especially impressed with what we witnessed firsthand of kids at the march — there, not because their parents dragged them along, but because they considered it a privilege to be seen and heard.
An assortment of Hatch kids between the ages of 9 and 11 attended the Washington march, and we asked them to share their thoughts. Here’s a sampling of our favorite responses.
Why did you attend the Women's March on Washington?
“I think it's important to support basic human and civil rights and to protest Donald Trump trying to take them away. “
“I marched to keep human rights safe for everyone in America.”
“Because I believe that when you really strongly dislike something and there are many people who believe in that too, you should do something against that.”
“To stand up to Trump, and tell him he can't do anything he wants.”
“I wanted my voice to be heard and I wanted to see and meet amazing people who felt the same way.”
What issues or causes are you most passionate about?
“Equal rights for all, animal rights, climate change, racism, sexism, education and of course, women's rights.”
“Black Lives Matter.”
“Racial equality and a woman's right to do what she wants with her body.”
“I think lots of issues are important but women's rights, racial equality and abortion rights are pretty high on the list.”
What do you hope this march will change?
“To help people realize that we must continue to fight and oppose Donald Trump so we can get him impeached or not re-elected again!”
“Our new president.”
“The way the world thinks about Donald Trump.”
“I hope it will show Donald Trump that he needs to be better.”
“I hope this will show that even with this terrible thing that's happened, it doesn't mean the end for women. “
“I hope it teaches people about the issues and I hope that people see this and know there are millions of us and that we won't go away. “
What do you think you personally gained from this experience?
“Participating in a movement and feeling like I may be helping change the world.”
“I do not think I will ever forget the March in Washington for the rest of my life.”
“I learned to raise my voice.”
“It showed me how one person can make a difference and how important it is to march for your beliefs.”
Do you consider yourself an activist?
“Yes! I will keep protesting and fighting for issues and rights that are important to me.“
“Yes. I stand up for what I believe in.”
“Yes. Because I feel like it's important to stand up for myself and others when we have a president who doesn’t.”
“Sort of. I feel this march will make me feel like doing a lot more for people's rights.”
“I consider myself to be an activist because I learn about what's happening in the world and I take charge whether it be by marching and chanting or just by telling people how I feel.”
What element of the march surprised you the most?
“The sheer number of marchers and the number of men who marched with us.”
“Before I got to D.C. I did not think there would be anywhere near as many people that were there.”
“That we marched right outside the White House. I couldn't believe we were right there.”
“It was so much bigger and louder and greater than I could have imagined.”
Do you think this march will make an impact?
“Yes, it will show the world, Donald Trump and his supporters that we won't let him get away with rolling back our basic rights.”
"I just found out today that it was worldwide... they were in so many different cities across the globe, so I definitely think this will make an impact.”
“I want it to; I don't actually think it will because I don't think Donald Trump will listen to us. But I hope it does.“
“I think it made a huge impact. Everyone was together and peaceful.”
“I think this march will make an impact on people who doubted women's strength because we were all out there for hours marching until our feet hurt and shouting until our throats were sore — if that's not strong, show me what is.”
Do you think more people should include their kids in events like this? Why?
“Yes, because we are the future, and it's important for us to know all the issues facing us and start effecting change that will affect our future.”
“I think it's good for kids to do more marches and protests and stuff like that. It's really good for them to get out there and learn about what's really happening in the world.”
“Yes. I think it's really cool to march for your rights from a young age. And this event was a better one for kids because it was completely nonviolent.”
“People should definitely take their kids to more matches and protests because we have voices too and learning to protest at a young age makes those voices even stronger.”
What was your favorite chant?
"I started my own chant: 'When I say WOMEN, you say FIGHT BACK!' And people answered! I was really proud that I did that. I felt like I found my voice."
"We had been chanting for an hour when we got to the Trump hotel and everyone started to stomp and hit the back of their sign and we all chanted, 'shame, shame, shame,' and then someone yelled from somewhere in the crowd, 'SHOW ME WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE?' And we had been chanting this the whole way up so everyone yelled top volume, 'THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE,' and it was really beautiful because we were all there and we were all using all our strength."
Did the march change how you feel about being a girl?
"It made me feel a lot more comfortable. I wasn't uncomfortable before, but seeing how many women flew and drove out to D.C. to do this... it just made me feel very happy."
"If we all stick together and work together, we can definitely make a difference. Like Hillary said, we're 'Stronger Together.' No matter what gender you are."
"I've always felt pretty strong, but the women's march in Washington made me feel empowered."
"I don’t think it changed a lot. I've always felt great being a girl."