A year after millions of people flooded streets across the country wearing pink hats and holding vulgar signs directed at the newest president elect, the same protest reignited in Moscow and other cities across the country.
In the early weeks of last year, women showed nation-wide unity in the on-going conversation regarding women’s rights — a topic many feel President Donald Trump has invalidated during his time in office. The marches and protests have evolved to cover everything from women’s health rights to issues of immigration. Regardless of the root-issue in protest, women have continued to show support for the cause, maintaining the momentum from the inaugural Women’s March last winter.
Last year was a turbulent, yet powerful year for many women. The Trump administration made repeated moves and remarks about women and women’s rights, further stirring the pot that continued to bubble after the 2016 election.
It is easy to pin-point the historic lows that could characterize 2017, but it is equally as easy to see the shining moments of the previous year, many stemming from the unified willingness to speak out in support of women.
The #MeToo movement brought to light conversation in the later months of 2017, empowering women to come forward with their stories of sexual assault. This built an army of empowered women ready to fight for change.
Not to be left out, pro-life and pro-choice advocates took to downtown Moscow Saturday to speak out on their stance on abortion. A counter-protest grew in Friendship Square where protesters carried pro-choice signs similar to those carried in the larger marches across the country.
No matter the side or stance, it is important that people, specifically women are speaking up and out.
Just as women are using the current political state to strengthen the conversations surrounding women’s issues, it is hard to ignore that it all stems from the immense threat to women’s rights.
We seek comfort in the empowerment that comes from #MeToo and the black-clad actors and actresses in support of Times Up, but that does not diminish the larger threat at hand.
On days when this threat seems hard to ignore, UI students have several resources on campus to turn to. The Women’s Center, located in Room 109 of the Memorial Gym, serves to be a safe environment for women on campus and helps to create open discussion on many of the common issues women are faced with.
The LGBTQA Office is also a resource for many students during times of overall intolerance. Located in TLC Room 227, the LGTBQA Office provides students of all genders and sexual identities a safe space with resources and counciling readily available.
We cannot stop the president from making offensive and exclusive remarks in office or on Twitter. Alone, we cannot sign the bills or laws necessary to legally protect women and women’s rights. What Moscow residents and UI students can do, however, is continue to keep the conversation alive until the only discussion we need to have is “who can we help next?”