by HALEY BURNSIDE & GABRIELLA DePINHO, Editors
One year ago, men and women alike brought witty protest signs and wore knitted pink hats as they marched the streets of major cities all around the world. The famous occurrence was dubbed the Women’s March, making international headlines.
This past Saturday, an anniversary march was held in New York City, as well as in other cities.
Sydney Kukoda and Tsegeroman Doumbia organized a group of Manhattan College students in preparing posters for the march before attending together.
The two are both Residence Assistants (RAs) at the college, organizing the event through both Residence Life and the Multicultural Center.
“We have the support of Res Life. They provided us with the flyers, advertising, and metrocard that we needed,” said Kukoda. “We are also working in conjunction with the Multicultural Center. They are providing a lot of the advertising for us.”
According to Doumbia, it was important that she and Kukoda organize this outing so that they could lead other students to engaging in public political discourse.
“We decided to organize students to attend the march because we believe it is important for young people to be involved in what is going on in this country,” said Doumbia. “A lot of decisions that are being made right now will affect us for years to come and not enough of us are informed of what is going on.”
Kukoda and Doumbia approached the organized project with a common goal of sharing a supportive message to all women.
“Our goal in organizing students to attend this march was to make it known that we support all women and respect their choices. That we stand with women who have been wronged. That we as women feel it is crucial that we make these issues heard,” said Doumbia.
Kukoda’s motivations behind the event were focused on the future.
“I really want to see a world where I can raise my future daughters,” said Kukoda. “I don’t want them to go through some of the same struggles that I’ve been through.”
Kukoda wants the march to create a ripple of change in the societal view of gender roles.
“Little things like being told that I won’t make as much money as my brother or that I can’t act a certain way because it’s not ladylike are problematic. Overall, I want to see concrete legal action to be taken to protect the rights of groups that have been and are being oppressed,” said Kukoda.
Both Kukoda and Doumbia created an event in which students could come together to make posters and signs to carry in the march. The event took place in Lee Hall on the Friday before the march. During the event, dozens of students ate pizza while painting witty, motivational and meaningful signs to carry.
Chemical engineering major, Erin McWilliams, attended the event.
“I’m going to the march to represent females in my field, since in my field there is especially an underrepresentation of females, and to support and encourage other females to pursue their dreams,” she said.
McWilliams’ poster featured a female scientist with one word on the top of the poster in all capital letters: Steminist.
Another poster-maker was sophomore Ryan Askin who will not be attending the march but came to help his friends make posters and to show solidarity for his two sisters and friends.
Askin was one of a few males who showed up to make posters.
“I want [other men] to know that if their not giving women equal opportunities and showing support for women, then they don’t have the right to think that they understand what [women] are going through because we are the same, but we’re not,” said Askin. “Most men don’t understand what it’s like to be a woman and go through all the different experiences and norms.”
Another group of Manhattan College students went to the women’s march organized by senior Alannah Boyle and Professor Luisanna Sardu.
Professor Sardu, who teaches Italian and Spanish for the modern languages department, also helps the professors in the women and gender studies minor.
Independently, Sardu is a scholar of women’s studies and literature with a focus on early modern Italian and Spanish women writers.
Sardu believes that the march is a reflection of women’s history in the United States and it is important for young people to be getting involved through these types of events.
“The young generation understands what is the urge and necessity for women to raise their voice(s) and it is important to be part of this discourse and even to be part of history, which is a great opportunity for the generation who might have missed the movement of the 60s and 70s to be part of this movement now,” said Sardu. “I really believe [the women’s rights movement is] a discourse that continues and continues and is renovated and with the new generation we are going to have new energy.”
“Yes of course now we have an equal legal system in the structure but in reality it’s not very much respected. We can still see that we, for example have different salaries between men and women. With a huge focus on sexual harassment now, we know there is still inequality.”
CORRECTION (February 2, 10:40 a.m. EDT): An earlier version of this article misspelled the last name of one of the students interviewed. The student’s name is actually spelled “Kukoda”. We apologize for this error.