On Friday, the 45th president was inaugurated. The next day, half a million individuals marched on Washington, D.C. in the Women’s March, a millions more marched in cities around the world. The grassroots movement advocated for a variety of issues perceived to be neglected or threatened by the new administration, including pro-choice, LGBT rights and immigration.
However, the trendy appeal of the event itself may have drawn out a lot of people who had not previously been engaged in serious activism.The protests were filled with pink hats, witty posters and celebrity appearances. There were rallies, musical performances and invigorating chants.
As college students, we witnessed our peers join in on the marches or attended them ourselves, including a sister assembly in Bayfront Park in downtown Miami.
Americans watching the events unfold had questions: What was the point of the march? The election was over, so why did the protesters not simply get over it?
This sentiment rejects the very foundation of democracy that citizens have the freedom and responsibility to voice their concerns and not merely accept the actions of an administration.
The visibility garnered by the march is impactful in itself. Though it has been criticized for being “unfocused,” the movement was an effective way to educate and invigorate individuals who might not normally be politically involved.
However, for those who participated in the marches, and those who spoke out against them, it is important to back words with action. Activism does not stop when the cameras turn off and the crowds disperse.
Understanding the root of the causes is important. There is a difference between protesting President Trump and protesting white supremacy. There is a difference between protesting an election and protesting institutionalized misogyny. Focusing solely on the election will lead to a large drop-off in enthusiasm once the administration becomes the status quo, but it takes continuous, relentless activism to promote concrete progress.
Amid a series of high-stakes votes, increased campaigns for people to call representatives are promising. If more people realize the importance of putting in time and effort for the issues they care about and start placing calls, writing letters, canvassing for their political candidates, registering voters or just being civically engaged in their local community, then the sense of pride surrounding the march will be well-deserved.
Political engagement is important, and if this post-inauguration momentum is sustainable, then perhaps we will have learned a lesson from this election cycle.
Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.