I just got the job at the UH student newspaper the Ka Leo, and did my first official story. The story itself was published in a more timely fashion than this one, but I wanted to make sure it was fine for me to publish it elsewhere. So I’m posting my original copy of the article here…
Hawaii’s 2018 Women’s March was more than a rally on the feminist social movement; it was called the People’s Rally, marking the one year anniversary of President Trump’s inauguration. It had all started last year on the day Trump was installed as president, when retired Hawaii attorney Teresa Shook first started off the nationwide movement. A year later, people have once again gathered together across the country to not only empower women but to get people to the polls and encourage them to really get involved in bringing about social change in their community.
One of the rally’s most conspicuous features was the grand spectacle of women wearing bright pink caps. When asked what these hats were for, Vivian Carlson replied, “The Women’s March last year, they put the knitting pattern for this hat up with the idea that all women would wear pink pussy hats. And so this is the anniversary…so bring out the pussy hats!” This very satirical display of pussy-hat-wearers was meant to represent society’s concept of women and broadcasted dissatisfaction about recent events that have disrespected women.
This year’s rally in Honolulu again took place at the state capital, where hundreds of individuals and many organizations congregated to do what they could to promote change. Lisa Grandinetti, a UH alumni who had graduated in 2017 with a double major in ethnic and women’s studies, came to the rally representing the organization Local 5, “We’re with Local 5, we’re a union for hotel workers, and we’re here to support progressive politics.” Joli Tokusato, a hotel worker at Local 5 and former city council candidate, added, “We have to take care of women, we have to take care of immigrants, we have to take care of our children and make sure they have healthcare. All those things are super important as well as jobs and unions and power to the people.”
Representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) were also present at the rally. Kit Grant, Deputy Director of the ACLU of Hawaii and 1988 liberal studies graduate from UH Manoa, was present to inform the public about the ACLU’s purpose, “The ACLU is the nation’s foremost guardian of civil rights. We work in a lot of different areas, a lot of which touch on women’s rights. We’re here to show support for the women’s march and to do some education about the constitution, your right to protest, and also about a bail reform push that we’re making.”
Clearly, with the Local 5 and the ACLU attending, this year’s Women’s March is bringing together people from all walks of life and with diverse political and social focus in a single rally for the people. When asked why she was here at the march, Punahou student Claire Cutler made it clear that it was not only in support of the female gender, “[I’m here] to show my dissatisfaction with everything that’s happened in the past year…specifically women’s rights, and then also since this is the People’s Rally it’s a little bit more general: also the environment and then the bill he just passed about treating LGBT people.” The Women’s March taking place on the anniversary of President Trump’s inauguration certainly makes this rally a passionate one for a lot of people.
It’s not surprising, then, that such an all-encompassing rally like this one would also include organizations like Refuse Fascism, which focuses more pointedly on the Trump Administration. “I am in solidarity with the movement that says no to the agenda pushed by Trump and the conservative parties: attack on immigrants, permanent war, removal of regulations that protect health and the environment, racism…income inequality, increased subsidies for big business and less benefits, less education for the lower income classes,” said Hector Valenzuela, a member of Refuse Fascism.
With so many organizations to choose from, and so many social issues to fight for, the Women’s March is not only a display of people’s ability to unite against adversity, but also a reminder to get more involved. Jennifer Hsu, a current UH Manoa student majoring in social work, is a perfect example of how students at UH can contribute. “This is part of my practicum for social work,” she declared as she stood behind the Planned Parenthood booth, fighting for birth control and healthcare. “This is my first time here,” she said. Of course, in order for any of these organizations to get here, or any of these social movements to begin at all, someone had to step up for their first time in their effort to make a difference. Students from UH Manoa as well as the rest of the community are given a chance at events like these to become inspired and do something for the community. We are also reminded of the democratic power that can be wielded by going to the polls to support candidates that will make such issues their priority. In short, as said in the opening speech, this march reminds the people that women “are the mothers who raised nations,” and today these mothers strove to stay true to that pledge.
To see the edited and published version, visit Ka Leo.
LIKE WHAT YOU’RE READING? YOU CAN KEEP UP WITH THE GRAND ADVENTURES AND CASUAL REFLECTIONS BY FOLLOWING MY BLOG.
If you aren’t a fellow WordPress blogger, you can just scroll down to “Follow Me!” and leave your email so you can receive email notifications on my new posts.
If you are a fellow WordPress blogger, you know what to do.