Temple students were immersed in a sea of pink and purple T-shirts worn by both males and females with slogans that read, “This Is What A Feminist Looks Like!” and were amazed by the plethora of different types of participants.
Members of Temple’s Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance (FMLA) and almost 100 Temple students traveled to Washington, D.C., to participate in the “March for Women’s Lives” on Sun., April 25.
Concerned men and women, young and elderly, held the march to promote awareness, both nationally and abroad. The marchers said a a woman’s right to choose is her choice and cannot be decided by any presidential administration or religious institution.
The marchers included celebrities and political figures such as Whoopi Goldberg and former first lady and Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y. Those who marched at Washington’s National Mall used their voices to target not only President George Bush’s administration and the presidential candidates, but also conservative politicians threatening to destroy a woman’s right to choose.
The organizers of the event counted more than one million people who attended the march, but official estimates place between 500,000 and 800,000 people at the gathering.
Alissa Vladimir, a member of FMLA and an organizer of the march, noted that these participants are “not just a million people who are [in Washington]. It is one million people who are going to vote in the next presidential election.”
The issue “is about choice,” claims FMLA President Lydia Keaney.
“It is a medical decision to be made by a woman with her doctor, not something ascertained through legal terms,” Keaney said. “[The ability to choose] is a difficult question, but it is also a necessity and it is something that must be safe, legal and acceptable.”
Advocates of a woman’s right to choose note that severe restrictions such as the signing of recent bills like the Partial Birth Ban and the Global Gag Rule have been passed without the awareness of a majority of the American public.
Keaney realizes that one march will not change the minds of those in the Bush Administration. But according to Keaney, this march has been able to “raise media coverage on significant measures that have recently been passed that have not been given front page media attention. An event like this brings those issues to the table.”
“The message was clear, loud and distinct, and people paid attention,” Vladimir said. “It even made the front page of The New York Times.”
Kearney and Vladimir said they were successful in raising awareness at Temple before going to Washington.
“We have been able to gain a bigger response than we even anticipated,” said Keaney.
“Seeing the wide variety of people who were in support of this march who would not normally be considered pro-choice was very powerful,” Vladimir said.
“The actions of this administration toward women are unacceptable. A new regime must come into place for these wrongdoings of the administration to be reversed.”
Bob Hollawell can be reached at Grungefan5483@aol.com.