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ICYMI: Women take to Athens streets one year after national Women’s March

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Women gathered at the 2018 Women's March in Athens. Photo by Adriana Navarro.

The people who marched on a Saturday in late January supported inclusion and intersectionality within the feminist movement.

Pink filled the streets of Athens on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018. The chants and the massive crowd swept through the town as marchers headed to Athens City Hall from the First United Methodist Church. It has been a year since the inaugural Women’s March in Washington, D.C., and people all around the world gathered to protest once more.

“Today we’re going to rally to remind ourselves of the power that we have when we come together, when we unite and embrace intersectionality, when we run for office and when we say me too,” Kerri Shaw, a social worker and the 2014 Athens County Woman of the Year, said.

The Athens Women’s March of 2018 emphasized the plea for not just equality but inclusion within feminism.

“Our feminism, our pride, our healing, our justice, our anger, our revolution must be intersectional. If not, it’s bullshit,” delfin bautista, the Director of the Ohio University LGBT Center said, referencing a quote from Flavia Dzodan and the blind spots feminism has historically had toward people other than straight, cisgendered white women. But the signs marchers carried acknowledged these blind spots head-on.

Chants declared “Black Lives Matter” and supported standing up for transgender rights and to protect LGBT people. One sign read Unidad Feminista, which translates to Feminist Unity, while a man in the march raised up the words “Men of quality do not fear equality.”

While the marchers’ protests came together to support a common cause, each protester carried their own personal reasons for marching. Shaw said she marched for her sister, “all of the girls who know me as Mrs. Shaw,” and for her mother. Her mother worked as a welder in a factory and endured discrimination and sexual harassment in order to send Shaw to college. Shaw also marched for the women and girls of Appalachia “whose voice is not always heard” and to work for the safety of the LGBT community.

Dr. Winsome Chunnu-Brayda, an associate director at Ohio U’s Multicultural Center, shared both her personal story as an immigrant in the U.S. as well as statistics on the gender and race wage gap, which is considerably steeper for black and Latina women. She stressed the importance that the only way people are “going to listen to us is when we come together in numbers.”

“I need you to look around right now,” Chunnu-Brayda told the crowd. “Ask ‘Who is not here right now?’”

In her last words to the audience, Chunnu-Brayda said she hadn’t always seen herself as belonging within the feminist movement, but with intersectionality brought inclusiveness and unity.

“I think we should take some time to reflect how to bring those people in,” Chunnu-Brayda said.

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