by Audrey Hertel & Shannon McSweeney
Honking horns and tire screeches weren’t the only sounds ringing through the streets of 14th and Farnam on Saturday, Jan. 20. “Love, not hate, makes America great” came from the mouths of men and women marching to make a change. A few hours later, stomping feet and beat drops were heard on 72nd and Military Ave.
For the second year in a row, the Women’s March and Winter Formal fell on the same date. The time-crunch of marching and listening to speakers from 1-5 and going to dinner and photos at 6:30 didn’t keep many Marian girls from choosing to go to both events. Junior Rylee Roberts, one of the girls who marched and danced, said that doing both was not hard, but she didn’t have as much time as she had in previous years. Although Roberts had less time to prepare for the dance, going to the march was important to her.
“I want equality for all women. I march because women are just as intelligent, brave, courageous and strong as any man, and they deserve that recognition,” Roberts said.
Roberts was not the only Marian girl at the march. Junior Lily Blake, the co-president and co-founder of the club, Girls 4 Girls, encouraged members and their friends to make posters and meet during the Women’s March.
The official club bylaws state: “Girls 4 Girls is a club whose mission is to spread an uplifting and non-competitive spirit not only within the Marian community, but to girls everywhere through bi-monthly affirmations and discussions on women’s and social issues.” Blake explained further, “It has nothing to do with politics, it’s about equality and mutual respect,” Blake said.
There were many Marian students present at the march. Blake said that seeing girls acting on their beliefs and truly living out a Marian ideal was empowering.
“We can be told to be confident, independent, thinking leaders a million times, but it means nothing until we act on that teaching. The girls who attended the march were angry about an injustice, and they actually did something,” Blake said.
Senior Lily Veylupek did this exact thing. “I march because I believe everyone is equal. Until that statement is true I will march. I want to use my position of privilege to speak up for those who have felt disenfranchised or can’t speak up for themselves,” Veylupek said.
When the loud chanting came to an end, and the signs were put away, students from Marian raced home and prepared for Winter Formal. An afternoon of holding signs transitioned into a night under the stars as Marian girls and their dates danced their hearts out. Even while having fun, students still kept their feminist values in mind.
Roberts wore a dress and makeup to the dance, but said that she does not believe that wearing makeup gives or takes away from a woman’s value. “I’m a firm believer in women being able to wear whatever they are happy and comfortable in and feel good about themselves in,” Roberts said.
One of the battles still being fought with women is society’s expectations of them. Some people say that a woman only has value when she is dressed nice and has a face full of makeup, this idea is opposite of one of the many messages shared at the march.
Whether it be at a march or a formal dance, Marian students are not afraid to be their confident selves and empower others.
“Women need to be other women’s biggest supporters. We really need to watch out for one another and support one another because if we do, we will be an unstoppable force that can change the world,” Roberts said.