Caro­line res­i­dents walk in Women’s March

Times-Record - - FRONT PAGE - By ABBY AN­DREWS aan­drews@car­o­line­times­record.com

WASHINGTON — The Women’s March on Washington, held Satur­day, Jan. 21, drew hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple to Washington, D.C., and to sis­ter events across the na­tion.

Caro­line County res­i­dents who at­tended said the ex­pe­ri­ence left them feel­ing a lit­tle more hope­ful, and in­spired to take fur­ther ac­tion.

“It was just a re­ally pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence,” said An­gela Vis­in­tainer of Den­ton, who at­tended the march with a friend. “It was the

per­fect bal­ance of se­ri­ous­ness, hope­ful­ness and kind­ness.”

“I must have used the word ‘in­cred­i­ble’ 25 or 30 times through­out the day,” said Frank Miller, also of Den­ton, who at­tended with his 16-year-old daugh­ter, Sade, and one of her friends. “There was just this feel­ing of love and ac­cep­tance you don’t al­ways feel in large crowds.”

A Face­book post Nov. 9, 2016, the day af­ter the elec­tion, an­nounced the D.C. march. It quickly spread across so­cial me­dia, in­spir­ing sim­i­lar events around the U.S. and the world, at­tract­ing far more peo­ple than or­ga­niz­ers orig­i­nally en­vi­sioned.

The sheer num­ber of peo­ple in D.C. seemed to over­whelm any at­tempt at lo­gis­ti­cal plan­ning, at­ten­dees said, but it did not take away from the pur­pose of the event.

“I heard it de­scribed as a mag­nif­i­cent mess,” Vis­in­tainer said.

Vis­in­tainer said it took nearly an hour for her and her friend to get close enough to a stage set up for speak­ers on In­de­pen­dence Av­enue, near the U.S. Capi­tol, to hear any­thing at all, and an­other hour to get close enough to hear ev­ery­thing.

“The con­ver­sa­tions we were hav­ing with other marchers there were re­ally en­er­giz­ing,” Vis­in­tainer said.

Miller said he had planned to meet up with other Caro­line County res­i­dents, but the mas­sive crowds made that im­pos­si­ble.

He said he, his daugh­ter and her friend stayed from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., mov­ing around the area to take in as much as pos­si­ble.

“Ev­ery side street was packed,” Miller said.

Amanda Travers of Den­ton said she at­tended the march be­cause she feels in­debted to the women who marched be­fore her to gain rights she en­joys to­day.

In a re­sponse to a so­cial me­dia post­ing of a car­toon crit­i­ciz­ing the march, Travers said she wants to keep the rights she has, and she earnestly be­lieves some of them are at risk, some­thing she would never have dreamed of say­ing 10 years ago.

She also at­tended to sup­port pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion and civil rights, among other causes.

“I marched be­cause it’s my right and re­spon­si­bil­ity as a cit­i­zen to speak up and to lend sup­port to those in need,” Travers said. “I marched be­cause I want to be ac­count­able.”

Miller said he has been at­tend­ing po­lit­i­cal ral­lies since the 1970s. He wanted to par­tic­i­pate in the Women’s March specif­i­cally to speak up for women’s rights, im­mi­grant rights and en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tions.

“I didn’t think I’d still be hav­ing to do this at my ad­vanced age,” Miller said with a laugh.

This was al­ready his daugh­ter’s fourth visit to D.C. for a po­lit­i­cal rally, Miller said.

Vis­in­tainer said at­tend­ing the march made her re­al­ize she’d “fallen asleep at the wheel.”

“I def­i­nitely need to take more ac­tion,” Vis­in­tainer said.

She said she was start­ing by par­tic­i­pat­ing in the march or­ga­niz­ers’ call to take 10 ac­tions in 100 days. The first ac­tion is to write post­cards to se­na­tors, about the is­sues that mat­ter most.

Miller said com­mu­ni­cat­ing is key — by speak­ing up on so­cial me­dia, blog­ging, writ­ing let­ters to the ed­i­tor and con­tact­ing lo­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

“Make a lit­tle noise, whoop and holler, but in a con­struc­tive way,” Miller said.

He said it is also im­por­tant to en­gage in civil dis­cus­sions with peo­ple who have dif­fer­ent views.

“But do not let the peo­ple in charge take away all of our rights,” Miller said.

Travers said she is forc­ing her­self to be knowl­edge­able, to speak up about un­com­fort­able is­sues and to lis­ten to what oth­ers have to say.

“I think it’s vi­tal that Amer­i­cans start lis­ten­ing to one an­other, fig­ur­ing out what they have in com­mon and de­cid­ing where to go from there,” Travers said. “So many peo­ple are so en­trenched in their own ‘sides’ that it makes it im­pos­si­ble to have any sort of mean­ing­ful con­ver­sa­tion.”

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

The Women’s March on Washington drew hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple to Washington, D.C. on Jan. 21, in­clud­ing res­i­dents from Caro­line County.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

Women sign a poster be­low a “Love Thy Neigh­bor (No Ex­cep­tions)” ban­ner dur­ing the Women’s March on Washington on Jan. 21.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

The Women’s March on Washington drew hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple to Washington, D.C. on Jan. 21, in­clud­ing res­i­dents from Caro­line County.

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