The grey, foggy weather matched the minds of many Iowa City residents the morning after President Donald Trump’s inauguration. Across the world, women’s marches broke out to advocate for women’s rights, and Iowa City, IA was a strong participant.
The local march began at noon as protectors of rights gathered at the University of Iowa Library, taking a moment of silence for solidarity. After a two minute break in the chaos, “Let’s get rowdy,” was shouted by Director Corey Hickner-Johnson.
“The goal is to resist hate and all of its forms,” Hickner-Johnson said. “There has been a lot of rhetoric that is hateful to people of color, people of different gender orientations, queer people and people with disabilities, and we are protesting that hate.”
With that goal on their minds, the one thousand-some participants slowly marched to the Old Capitol, chanting and smiling all the way. The sheer volume of the event caught the attention of many passing by.
“This protest shows me that a lot of people care and that a lot of people are upset with the election and feel like they need to stand out and peacefully protest,” said University of Iowa Senior Antony. “There is a lot of discomfort in the population.”
The unease observed by those on the sidelines was expressed by one central concern among those marching- civil rights.
“I believe that women are not given equal rights and our new president has objectified women and turned them into sexual objects which just isn’t right,” said Katherine Yacopucci ’20. “I feel we need to protest what he and Mike Pence stand for and keep them from taking away our basic human rights.”
“We believe in rights and we believe that our new president is not giving us those,” said Southeast Junior High students Maddie and Lucy.
Others not only marched for their rights, but for acceptance and love.
“I am here to show that all people are important and loved,” said Iowa City Resident Erin. “I hope it will send a message that not all people are going to lay down and accept this new administration, and that we are going to continue to say out loud that it is not okay.”
That message, many believe, was effectively spread.
“All these people are here and we are using our bodies and our minds to stand up against hate and stand up for democracy,” Hickner-Johnson said. “It will be effective.”
See West High students reactions to the protest on Instagram below.