Equal rights and ukuleles

Lindsey Wheeler, IV Leader Assistant Photo Editor

“We’re excited that women across the nation and world are organizing to stand together in solidarity,” said Bob Bland, co-chair of Women’s March on Washington. This statement couldn’t have been more true, when thousands of women and men join all over the world to rally and march for constitutional rights, pertaining to human health, safety, community and well-being.

On Jan. 21, the sun wasn’t the only source of light that day; it was the love and hope that was supported all around the world. Overall, the estimated turnout ranged in the thousands but who knew that more than 2 million people would overwhelm and crush that expectation.

On a sister march web page, it was estimated that “2.6 million people took part in 673 marches in all 50 states and 32 countries, from Belarus to New Zealand–with the largest taking place in Washington.” In Chicago, 150,000 people were estimated in the crowd, New York City’s crowd estimated to 400,000 and the numbers continue were high all over the world.

Fortunately, I was able to be a part of the women’s rally under the arch of the Gateway Building on Peoria’s Riverfront in support of Women’s March in Washington, D.C.

My uncle, Steve Fairbanks, was one of the lead coordinators for the event, and he invited me and my close friend, IVCC student Jenni Saleda, to not only participate but perform with four other musicians, Katie Fitch, Beth Ann Evers, Sarah Dillard, and Jamika Russell. Saleda and I sang, accompanied with our ukuleles, for the hundreds of people there.

“I love the feeling and the rush of being on stage and sharing my music with others, especially in this case,” said Saleda. The rally had a wonderful turnout and had such a positive environment to be in.

“I liked the feeling I got when I was surrounded by a bunch of like-minded people,” said Saleda. “In a time that seems hopeless, it was nice to come together and it gave me more hope for the future.”

Several speakers spoke positive and exhilarating words to the crowd, and promoted constant feelings of encouragement and hope for a better future. The speakers consisted of event coordinators, activists, teachers and even a high school student. Their attitudes and passion for what they believed in was truly inspiring.

In Washington, D.C., music superstar Madonna attended and had the opportunity to speak.

“The revolution starts here, and it is the beginning of much needed change,” said Madonna. “Change that will require sacrifice, people, change that will require many of us to make different choices in our lives. But this is the hallmark of revolution. So my question to you today is, are you ready?”

Although Women’s Marches turned out to be an ultimate success, there are still many people in disagreement about it, and do not understand what it was all about. Some people think that it was only in purpose for women’s rights and everything “pro-female.” Well, if you are one of those people, allow me to explain.

The millions who marched on Jan. 21 were not only “pro-female,” and were not just for the rights of women.

We protested and marched for all human rights, for anyone and everyone.

We believe in education, and that every child deserves a chance to learn and grow in a loving and caring environment.

We believe in healthcare for every individual in the United States.

We believe that climate change is not a joke, and that we as people need to continue to make changes to protect and save the environment.

That art and expression is something that no one should hide or ignore, especially if it is a part of who they truly are.

Now with a new leader in office, are these issues really being cared for? Do want to build walls, or do we want to build bridges?