Women Empowered

2020 Philadelphia Women's March

Women Empowered

Julianna Schweitzer, Staff Writer

On a day of billowing snow and icy wind, who knew that I would turn up for feminist activism in below-freezing weather? Who knew that hundreds of others would, too? I went to the fourth annual Women’s March in Philadelphia for the first time on January 18th. That Saturday, inconvenience did not stop the people’s fight for justice. 

From Logan Circle, attendees with posters, winter coats, and pink hats marched down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where the rally was held. Colorful signs made from combinations of markers, cardboard, construction paper, and  magazine cut-outs waved everywhere I looked.

A man in an orange dinosaur suit had a sign that read, “I may be a fossil, but my feminism is not. I stand by all women including trans women and women of color.”

Booths were organized nearby to promote a variety of Democratic candidates’ campaigns, like Joe Biden, Pete Buttigeig, and Michael Bloomberg. But despite the variety of candidates, many people in the crowd seemed to agree that removing Donald Trump from office was the goal; this was confirmed by the tenth chant of “Dump Trump.” 

During the rally, the diverse lineup of speakers shared their stories to inspire the audience and spread hope. There was Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, Dr. Monique Howard of WOAR, Philadelphia’s only rape crisis center, and even my own friend, Lorraine Ruppert, the PA Climate Strike Co-State Lead, who delivered a powerful speech about the climate crisis. I was lucky enough to be able to support her on stage.

Congresswomen Madeleine Dean, Mary Gay Scanlon, and Chrissy Houlahan each spoke about their efforts as women in the State House of Representatives to pass effective bills supporting human rights, like ones against the climate crisis, gun violence, and worker’s rights.

Three students from Philadelphia schools shared emotional stories about gun violence in their neighborhoods, which left me tearful. 

The first Women’s March was on January 21 in 2017, the day after Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration. In protest of his perceivable sexism and xenophobia, over 470,000 participants joined the Women’s March on Washington in D.C., considered the largest single-day protest in American history.

Now at the fourth march, the inspiring speakers left a strong impact on me as a young female activist, despite the fact that my fingers and toes were close to frostbite. They taught me that persistence works, and that the fight never stops until justice is served. I arrived unsure but left empowered.