On Saturday, Jan. 21, sophomore Hermina Garic ’19 traveled to Washington, D.C. to take part in the Women’s March on Washington. Along with peers from UC and nearby Hamilton College, Garic joined nearly 500,000 people who participated in the historic demonstration. Here, she answers a few questions about her experience:
When did you decide to take part in the Women’s March? Was there one distinct moment that inspired you to act? Is there a particular cause that is important to you?
I decided to take part in the Women’s March as soon as I heard about it from my advisor during one of our K. Della Ferguson Womyn’s Resource Center meetings. There was not really one distinct moment; it was more of a collective response in regards to my feelings towards the sexist rhetoric used during the election. Once I heard and saw on TV that Trump was normalizing sexual assault with certain phrases he was using, I knew I needed to take action. I am also a firm pro-choice supporter and it blew my mind that a female’s right to her own body was being attacked yet again.
Describe the trip to D.C.
I traveled to D.C. on one of the buses that was leaving Hamilton College. There was a variety of individuals both from the Utica College area and Hamilton College area that wanted to go. It was a one-day trip. We left Hamilton College around 1 am on Saturday and came back on Sunday at 4 am.
What was your first impression when arriving in D.C.?
We first stopped at Shady Grove metro station, about an hour from the city itself, to catch the train into D.C. Just at this stop, the crowd was already huge. There was so many people, and we had to wait around an hour or so just to get onto the train just because the crowd was so big. Every stop along the way to Washington D.C. filled the train a little bit more. When we finally got to Washington D.C., it was a sea of people. It was incredible.
How would you describe your fellow marchers?
My fellow marchers were positive, peaceful, and empowering. Honestly, all of them were memorable. It was a weird experience for me because even though I did talk to a lot of the marchers, we all felt like one big unit. I think the interaction that will stick with me was when a marcher on the bus kept offering everyone cookies. It was a great thing to sit down to on the bus after a long day. Plus, his cookies were delicious!
I saw suffragette outfits and the signs they held up said something along the lines of “I cannot believe we are still protesting this.” I saw was doctors wearing lab coats and nurses wearing scrubs advocating for universal healthcare. My favorite outfit was a nurse who wore green scrubs and held up the torch like the Statue of Liberty.
What’s your opinion of how the media has covered the march? Did they get it right?
The only coverage that I saw was the aerial views of how massive the crowds were, and they definitely got that right!
Describe how it felt to be part of the march. What was the overall vibe and message you felt was being communicated?
I felt safe and strong. It was so unifying, too. Everyone was together and it felt like nothing could break us apart.
What effect do you hope the march will have going forward?
I hope that the march makes people realize that as citizens we hold power in democracy, and if we wish to see change we should connect with each other, learn from each other, and like Ghandi said, “be the change that we wish to see in the world.”