Thousands of women from all over Ohio gathered in Columbus on Sunday to protest the impending presidency of Donald Trump.
The Ohio Women’s March, a state-specific offset of the Women’s March on Washington that will be held on Saturday in Washington D.C., provided an opportunity for women who wanted their voices heard but were unable to attend the national march. However, a statewide alternative was not the original intent of the march’s directors.
“Our initial calling was to basically galvanize people to get to the national march. We decided to collectively do this instead of that,” said Rhiannon Childs, a director of the Ohio Women’s March. “We decided that we needed to make a state-wide calling and statement. We decided to do it the week before so we could bring people that just couldn’t attend the march so that way we could all stick together.”
After a tumultuous election season, many people voiced their concerns about women’s rights and other minority issues. The directors and organizers of both the national and state marches primarily wanted to provide a platform that would raise more awareness to these issues.
Childs originally got involved with the march for similar reasons — not because she wanted to lead, but because she simply wanted to make sure her voice was heard.
“I was kind of feeling the same way as most people in the Women’s March, just feeling very disappointed about some of the discourse and sexist comments and things that were going on,” Childs said. “So I was really just looking for a platform or a place to voice. So I came across the Women’s March just on media and then saw there was an Ohio page so I reached out.”
After the original creator of the march stepped down, Childs took on the role of director. She pushed to create more diversity in the event and stressed drawing attention to some of the inequalities she thought the women at the march should be pushing to change.
“I’m hoping it will establish awareness and help us set aside differences we have in even our own communities,” Childs said. “I just feel like even though we may have some differences of opinions or even political party affiliation, we all want the same thing, and I feel like we all still want equality.”
Although Childs and thousands of other women continue to vocalize their unhappiness, others, like Ohio Federation of Republican Women spokesperson Linda Casey, are not necessarily on board with their cause.
She said she hopes that protesters will offer the same civility many Republicans showed during Obama’s presidency, despite strong disagreements with his policies.
“It’s their right but they seem to be protesting unsubstantiated, pre-conceived opinions,” Casey said in an email. “It’s important for all Americans to unite under President-elect Trump to achieve jobs, our nation’s security, improved economy, safe communities, affordable and quality healthcare and a positive environment in which our children and grandchildren can thrive.”
Ohio women’s voices are still being heard after the march. Childs has helped organize transportation for over 5,000 people, including elected officials, traveling from Ohio to Washington D.C. this weekend to represent the state in the national march.
For those who have to stay home but want to get involved, Childs said there are other ways to participate.
“I would recommend people get in touch with some of these local community organizations that support the things they’re interested in,” Childs said. “There are lots of ways we can reach out in your community. You can even get in touch with your elected officials. They’re willing and they’re open. It’s not like you can’t speak to them.”