An estimated 15,000 people attended Nashville's Women's March 2.0 on Saturday.
"We're here to power together, Tennessee," said Francie Hunt, event coordinator of Power Together, the group that organized both this year's and last year's marches. "We believe that women’s rights are human rights, and human rights are women’s rights!"
The theme of this year's march was Power to the Polls, and speakers implored attendees to keep working beyond the day's event -- especially as the 2018 midterm elections are just a few months down the road.
Zulfat Suara of the American Muslim Advisory Council said in her speech:
"In the words of my youngest daughter, she’s only 13, she said, 'No matter how long we march or how many times we protest, it won’t matter until we get out and vote.'"
[Tennessee ranks 50th in voter turnout, according to the Pew Research Center, and is 40th in voter registration.]
In response to seeing a photo of me at the march, one gentleman commented, "But women have all the same rights men do. What are you 'fighting' for?"
That's a loaded question, and it requires a thorough response, but I'll do my best to summarize.
We want to end wage inequality between men and women. We want the right to make our own reproductive health decisions. And more than that, we want to change societal attitudes in regards to countless female-centered issues.
One example of this: when men walk around shirtless, no one really bats an eye. But if a woman needs to breastfeed her child in public, it's often seen as inappropriate or shocking. Our bodies have been so sexualized that even feeding our children in the most natural way possible offends people! We've been sexualized in such a way that even victims of rape and sexual assault are often blamed, as if anything they did warranted the despicable behavior of their attacker.
The same man who originally posed the question eventually stated that his only problem with the march is that "it turned into a Trump/republican bashing march."
It's no secret that the Women's March directly opposes Donald Trump and many conservative policies. But it's more that we're against behaviors and attitudes that Trump seems to have, that are exhibited by his own behavior. It's traumatic to have a commander in chief who casually mentioned that he thinks he has the ability to grab women by their genitals simply because he's powerful. That's exactly what #MeToo and Time's Up aims to combat -- men using their power to abuse women. That's just the tip of the iceberg, but generally, he seems to only respect and value people that he finds rich and attractive. It's hard to raise children in a time where a once dignified office is occupied by someone who spends much of his time acting like an internet troll. He sets a poor example for our youth, and I would think that about anyone who conducted themselves the way he does, regardless of party affiliation.
I am for equality. I am for inclusivity. I am for integrity. I am for humanity.
And while politics is a battle of ideas, it has never been more important for us to listen to each other. Try having an actual conversation with people who might have different opinions, instead of ignoring or insulting them. You might find you have common ground -- and if not, at least you made your principles clear. We'll never be productive if we all stubbornly sit on our opposite sides of the aisle. I hope I've helped to explain mine.
Did you attend Nashville's Women's March 2.0?
Keep scrolling to see more photos from the event!