Our editorial board is excited to see so many students going to Washington, D.C. this upcoming weekend to join the Women’s March on Washington, but to everyone who is going, you cannot stop your work there.
It is great that students are interested in participating in what is expected to be a march of at least 100,000 people in our nation’s capital, and expressing their anger with the current political climate and their commitment to upholding human rights.
The initial shock of this year’s election results among predominantly white individuals, highlights the ways in which people of privilege have continuously looked the other way on racist, sexist, ableist, homophobic, xenophobic and classist social structure. With that said, now is no time to continue the cycle of complacency. Participating in the march is a way of staying active and engaged, but is not enough on its own.
People who are able to go to Washington must bring what they learn back to the Knox campus and other communities they’re involved in. Not everyone was able to go this weekend or could afford the trip, and the campus can certainly learn from your experiences at this national, high-profile event.
Hold an open forum to share what you saw at the march, what you learned from it and what you thought was missing or could have been executed in a better way. Bring the organizational tactics that you observe to the Knox campus. Be critical of what you see and note what works and what doesn’t and what might or might not work in our community.
Note what issues and inequalities are being talked about and those that are not. Network with other activists who will be in Washington and build relationships with them. Exchange ideas with those who march beside you.
Additionally, Student Senate and several campus clubs have given money for students to experience this march, and that is all the more reason to bring it back. One of Senate’s goals is to work toward the betterment of our campus, so use the funding that has provided you with this opportunity well — come back to campus with a commitment to continuing your activism and spreading it to others. Your voice and impact can be heard more loudly and felt more strongly in your small, local communities, like our campus.
If you do not have the desire or drive to get involved in activism in your own community, but are attending this march, you should consider why you are choosing to go in the first place. Be critical of your motives as an activist.
The students going on this march have all invested $25 out of pocket and two days time into the cause. After returning from the march students, as well as those who were unable to attend, should consider what other worthy efforts they are able and willing to dedicate their voices, money and time to. Donate to causes that fight for the advancement of human rights and dedicate your time to volunteering at local organizations, calling politicians or organizing and participating in local protests, marches or rallies.
Your activism cannot stop in Washington. Hopefully it’s already started, but if it hasn’t, this trip should be the impetus to channel your passion into continuing to fight for justice and doing so in every community you are apart of.
Editor’s Note: Managing Editor Nadia Spock and Co-News Editor Erika Riley are going to the Women’s March on Washington to cover Knox students’ involvement in the event for The Knox Student.