Why I march: People reveal what compelled them to rally across US

Thousands of women came together this weekend in cities across the United States to rally for women’s rights and mobilize for the 2018 midterm elections.

Women of all stripes and their allies stood side by side, supporting and inspiring one another, elevating each other’s voices and committing themselves to take political action.

For some, it was their first Women’s March. Others attended last year’s inaugural event. They carried signs, chanted slogans, sang songs and demanded change.

Here’s why some felt compelled to march:

To empower women

“I did not march last year,” said Kari Whaley, 30, who brought her 8-year-old son with her to march in Orlando, Florida. “I’m marching this year to empower women to go to the polls in this midterm election.”

To teach children

“I want my daughter to learn that she is wonderful and deserves the same rights as everyone else,” said Alex Sloan, who joined the march in Boise, Idaho, with his 8-year-old daughter Lilly. “I also want her to hear other people’s voice be loud for what they believe in and her voice matters. As parents we believe in teaching our children in standing up for others and using our rights to protect.”

To fight for transgender rights

“It’s called a women’s march but there are so many people who experience intersectional oppression,” said Moss Sherman, 19, who wanted to draw attention to the negative impact of the Trump administration’s policies on the rights and treatment of transgender people.

To stand with indigenous sisters

“The reason why we marched this year was to bring awareness to the murdered & missing indigenous women and for environmental justice,” said Corey Hemstreet, 26, who attended the Phoenix Women’s March with her boyfriend, Michael Spencer. “Indigenous women experience sexual violence at alarming rates compared to other ethnicities and are often left victimized by a failing criminal justice system. So, as a native voice, we are here to say, ‘No more stolen sisters and we stand united!'”

To call for political change

“I didn’t march last year, but I’m here now because I’m upset about what is happening in our executive and legislative branches,” said Jordan Bebout, 21, who is marching in Jacksonville, Florida. “I’m ready for change.”

To protect vulnerable communities

“I march because I am disturbed by how women, especially women of color, LGBTQ+ and disabled women, are being treated in this country,” said Olivia Bartholomew, 18, who is marching in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

To be a voice for all

“My mom marched on DC in 1978 for the Equal Rights Amendment and 40 years later I feel we need to March for equality, not just for women, but for all,” said Ellen Bowen, who joined her friend in Miami on Sunday. “Immigrants, Dreamers, Latinos, LGBT, blacks, whites, everyone who is feeling unsafe or unwelcome in this great country of ours currently run by a group of bigoted and angry men.”