Manitou Students Make Voices Heard at State-Wide Women’s Marches

Lily Reavis, Editor-in-Chief

On January 21, 2017, the day after the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump, millions of people across the US participated in protest “Women’s Marches.” Several students from Manitou Springs High School attended local marches either in Colorado Springs or Denver.

Aubrey Hall (11), Becca Heiniger (11), Sita Ahlen (11), Hannah Ahlen (9), Alena Akse (11), Kaitlyn Davidson (11), Kaitlyn Cashdollar (10), Parker Hall (9), Maddie Butts (11), Aleia Velez (12) and Eli Thomas (12), Molly Arndt (10) and Nora Brachtenbach (9) participated in the march on Colorado Springs, while Naomi Stevens (12), Lily Reavis (12) and Brooke Hackleberg (12) commuted to Denver to march.

“It was really exciting to be a part of 7,000 people who came together to march two blocks,” said Sita. The Colorado Springs march was largely organized by Amanda Kerrigan, an English teacher at Manitou Springs High School. “It was also cool because Mrs. Kerrigan had such a huge role in organizing it, and when we saw her she was so proud of us. [She] said [the organizers] were expecting 500 to 1,000 people, and 7,000 showed up,” said Aubrey.

The Denver march also had a larger turnout than was expected. Organizers said that they expected roughly 50,000 attendees, while recent estimates place that number closer to 200,000. When asked why she was attending the march, Naomi said, “I really hate Trump, and I really think that I deserve equality, as does everyone.”

“The police were very nice [at the Colorado Springs march]. Every time there was a cop, everyone starting cheering for them,” said Sita. The marches were widely peaceful across the country, though there has been controversy on social media since they took place. “I posted a group photo of my friends who marched together, and out of the blue a couple people starting shouting at me for being pro-choice, saying that I was hurting innocent babies,” said Aubrey.

The marches were firstly a stand for women’s rights, especially considering issues that President Trump opposes, such as abortion. At least as equally, however, it was a message to the newly-inaugurated Trump administration. The March on Denver’s vision statement said, “This march is not a protest, but rather an opportunity for all participants to support social justice, human rights and equality, and to demonstrate that we will be vigilant in protecting these rights moving forward.”

While all participating Manitou students marched because of their shared belief in equality and opposition of President Trump, some had more personal reasons. “I know that I’m going to end up having kids, so I want to make sure that I’m able to take care of my children without getting fired or being looked at differently. I want to be paid the same as a man when I’m older, for jobs that are the same, on the same level,” said Naomi at the Denver march.

Manitou students were heavily represented at the Women’s Marches across Colorado. While each student had their own personal reasons for participating, they were also unified through their beliefs and feelings toward the newly-elected president. “I went to stand with other people who believed what I believe in,” said Cashdollar.