Though Eastern students participated in protest marches in Illinois the day following President Donald Trump’s inauguration, a few chose to travel halfway across the nation to join the main Woman’s March in Washington, D.C.
Among the latter was Meagan Ramey, a senior biological sciences major. She drove to the capital Friday with her mother Stephanie Adams, 62, of Middleton, Wis. Ramey said she has been more politically involved this election than in previous ones, which influenced her decision to drive to D.C. rather than a sister march in Illinois.
Her status as a senior also made it more urgent to attend D.C, Ramey said.
“I don’t know if I’m going to be able to drop everything and do something like this again, particularly during (Trump’s) administration,” she said. “It would have cost me about as much to go (to St. Louis or Chicago) on my own, so I figured why not go to D.C.?”
Ramey and her mother scraped together the gas money to travel to D.C., she said, because they could not afford the $230 for a bus ticket from Illinois.
Ramey said she saw a lot of diversity at the Woman’s March.
She estimated about four women to every man, but she said she saw plenty of men and women advocating for African American, Hispanic, Muslim and LGBT rights. Adams said she also met many other mothers and grandmothers traveling with their daughters who had protested for women’s rights in the 1960s and ’70s.
Ramey said the community members supported one another during the march, which spoke to the importance of the cause.
“We were unified almost like a neighborhood. Instead of being individuals, we became one community of people coming together,” she said.
Her favorite moment of the day, she said, occurred as the chanting crowd passed by a large white tent from the inauguration the day before. The workers tearing down the tent – all men – began clapping for the people marching. “To see people who are not participating (in the march) be moved by what you’re doing is amazing,” she said.
Ramey said she did not make a protest sign of her own because she did not want to hold it up for seven hours during the march.
She said one negative aspect of the march was that the signs made it difficult to see more than ten feet ahead. “Sometimes I wished I could have a megaphone and ask everyone to put their signs down,” she said.
She said many of the signs were also vulgar, but they were in response to Trump’s own vulgarity. Ramey said her favorite sign simply read, “I’m with Her” and had an arrow pointing to the crowd.
Leon Mire can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]