By SARAH DOOLITTLE
Four Points News
Steiner Ranch resident Elizabeth Preston was one of hundreds of thousands of women to participate in the Women’s March on Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21. Additionally, locals Jeanine Fleurimond, Kim Rolloff and Sherri Cole McCue were part of a group of over 30 women, men and children from the Four Points area to attend a sister march in downtown Austin the same day. The marches were just two of hundreds that took place around the U.S. and the world.
Preston described a festive — though crowded — D.C. “I have never been to a march or a gathering as large as the one in D.C. It was amazing. There was a feeling of giddy excitement that often comes when so many people gather for the same reasons,” she said. “The speeches ran long and many of us had been standing in the same crowded spots for hours. Even so, people were unfailingly helpful and friendly. It was like a big party.”
Austin marchers also experienced large, excited crowds. “We got there at about 10:30 a.m. — the march officially started at noon — and there were already thousands of people there,” said McCue. “There were women and men of all ages, ethnicity, and race. There were many children. The mood was one of excitement and hope. There were signs for all causes not just women’s rights.”
They had a hard time marching due to the size of the crowd.
“This march was in connection with all sister marches around the country and around the globe,” said Fleurimond, who brought her two daughters along so they could see firsthand what she felt was an historic event. “People in other countries were joining in… that’s just incredible. It’s my understanding that this was the largest march ever to date.”
Speaking to those who questioned the intentions of marchers, Fleurimond added that, “Our liberties are at stake. Protests and boycotts have been crucial in fighting for civil rights in this country. And they aren’t tools of the past. They are still relevant today and should not be underestimated.”
In D.C., Preston could tell that the march was of historic proportions. “By 1 p.m. we had heard that the crowds in D.C. filled the streets all the way to the White House and that we would not be able to march because there were simply too many people. We knew the march was going to be huge, but the idea that we filled downtown D.C. was unbelievable. It wasn’t until the next morning when I saw the pictures online that I understood how large the gathering really was.”
Rolloff had a response for those who felt this march did not represent them or their point of view. “The people who proclaim this was ‘not their march’ are entitled to their own opinion. They did not understand this was much more than a ‘Trump bashing’,” but instead a call to action for women, minorities, immigrants, LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) and the disenfranchised.”
McCue, who is the mother of three boys, chose to march for many reasons but mostly, “because I can and it is my right.”
Fleurimond “wanted to march for my two daughters and for all women in general,” as well as to put the president on notice.
Preston knew how lucky she was to be able to fly all the way to D.C. to attend the march. “I am privileged to be able to afford that trip and to have the support to make that possible. Not everyone who wanted to be there was able to drop everything and go, and I marched for them as well… I marched for myself, as a woman, for my two little boys who I am trying to raise to be feminist men, for my mother who worked for the same equal rights 50 years ago.”
Whatever their reasons for marching, all four women agreed that the event left them, “inspired more than ever now,” explained Fleurimond. “I felt united and supported being there… That fills me with hope for this country’s future.”
They recognized, too, that the march was only the beginning. “There is much more work to be done,” Preston said.