Why We Need The Women's March On Washington

Why We Need The Women's March On Washington

Someone wake up Susan B Anthony.
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Grab your sashes and top hats! The Women’s March on Washington is set to take off this Saturday in the heart of DC; with sister marches occurring in select cities. There has been much anticipation for the arrival of this event, as it is expected to be the largest gathering focused on women’s issues since the Suffrage Movement of 1920. The movement originally began after the presidential election of “grab em’ by the p*ssy” Donald Trump and will take place the day following his inauguration. But what started as a Facebook event page has now gained national attention, as this will be the first major form of protest after Trump’s transition into power. With crowds expected to be larger than Trump’s inauguration, the world will be watching.

The march was originated out of the fear that the Republican Party, who now controls all three branches of government, will strip away women’s rights and choices. These include Roe vs. Wade, access to affordable birth control and healthcare, and sexual assault prevention. The movement will be sponsored by various organizations including Planned Parenthood, the Sierra Club, NAACP, and Move On.

Women’s issues became a large topic during the presidential election. And while Trump’s “Make America Great Again” plans primarily focused on infrastructure, immigration, and trade agreements, the Republican Party supporting the new president has received harsh criticism for their beliefs on women’s issues. As he has mentioned various times in his speeches on the campaign trail, Donald Trump plans to defund Planned Parenthood and overturn Roe vs. Wade with his Supreme Court Justice pick. Trump describes the controversial law as a doctor’s permit to "rip the baby out of the womb" with only a few days left until birth.

The Trump team has also been under fire in regards to sexual assault prevention since the infamous “Trump Tapes” were leaked by Access Hollywood. Betsy DeVos, Trumps pick for education secretary, recently stated while being interviewed by the Senate that she "could not commit to the Obama administration’s guidance that schools who do not investigate sexual assault claims will be in violation of Title IX and can lose federal funding."

With the new regime in place, many feel uncomfortable and uncertain as to how Donald Trump will handle such important issues. If Trump is to follow through with his comments on defunding Planned Parenthood, millions of women will not be able to gain access to affordable forms of birth control and other reproductive health care. Planned Parenthood has also been responsible for providing sex education in middle schools and high schools in across the country. Without proper education in the consequences of having unprotected sex, millions of young adults will become at risk for teen pregnancy and contracting sexually transmitted diseases.

While Roe vs. Wade, and the overall issue of abortion, is determined by the state many conservative states, such as Texas, have implemented laws causing the closure of abortion clinics. Texas lawmakers recently overturned a state law that denied abortion clinics to meet the surgical standards of other medical facilities and denied doctors to have admission privileges at nearby hospitals. This leaves only a few clinics available in the large state, making it difficult or impossible for women to receive the procedure. A federal ban on abortions might cause desperate women to go to extreme measures in order to avoid having their unwanted child; putting both the mother and fetus at risk. As for DeVos, critics argue that her lack of a plan when it comes to preventing sexual assault on college campuses is putting millions of other women at risk. Studies show that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men are sexually assaulted while attending college. However, 90% of these attacks are unreported. Universities have become more aware of these statistics and are required to collect and report any cases of sexual assault on their campus. However, if there is a lack of punishment for individual colleges who do not take the safety of their students as a priority; more colleges are less likely to report sexual assault cases in order to maintain their image.

The Women’s March on Washington is important because it brings awareness of important issues that directly affect half of our country’s population. Rather than being viewed as an anti-Trump rally, the Women’s March will show our new leaders in Washington what values and problems Americans are focused on. If all goes well, hopefully, Trump and his new cabinet will listen to the voices of the American people.

If you are interested in taking part in the Women's March in Washington, a link to the official website will be provided here. And if you can't make it out to DC here is another link to the list of sister marches that will occur the same day in most major cities. And if you still want to show your support without all of the extra cardio, you can share the movement through social media by using the hashtags #WomensMarch, #WhyIMarch, and #IMarchFor. And of course be sure to check out the movements Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram where there will be live coverage and videos from celebrity supporters including Scarlett Johansson, Julianna Moore, Amy Schumer, and much more.

Cover Image Credit: The New Yorker

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To The Stoneman HS Colorguards

We are all with you and thinking of you at this time.
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When I was fourteen years old, I had just begun to explore the world of colorguard. I went to seven am rehearsals every day with my older brother which I thought was the coolest thing, I traveled for contests and experienced winterguard for the first time as well. My parents always made it to my performances and always made sure to tell me how proud they were of me and loved me after everything I have done.

As it has come to light that one of the victims of the Stoneman Douglas HS shooting in Florida was a fourteen-year-old girl by the name of Gina Montalto who had just begun her journey into a sport that I fell in love with so many years ago.

She was set to perform at her first WGI regional this weekend in Tampa as well. She had the world ahead of her as she went to school on Valentine's Day thinking it would be like any other school day. She was probably preparing herself for her performance this weekend alongside many amazing teammates who I have no doubt pushed her to be an amazing performer.

All I have seen is that she was a sweet and kind young woman who I have no doubt was special. I also saw that she was just beginning a journey into falling in love with an amazing sport.

Many of you are probably asking yourselves why I am writing about someone I never knew at this point. WGI is a community that connects people in ways you never expect. You meet performers from all across the United States as well as internationally. Many are lucky enough to keep these friendships for life. Gina is a member of a large community that has been sending its love and thoughts to Florida during this tragic time.

The colorguard community has also been standing up and asking for a change to prevent violence like this from continuing. I have seen it across my social media feeds for the past day that each colorguard page I follow regardless if it is the official WGI page, people like PunkRockIrving, or teams from across the entire country, they all share a similar message. A message of condolence and prayer along with a request for a change to begin.

As the days continue to pass by and competitions seem to fly by for so many performers whether it be on your state's circuit or within WGI, hug your friends and your teammates a little tighter as you go on through your season this year. Be a voice in the community that so many have called a home and do not be afraid to speak up for what you believe in.

Show the members of Stoneman Douglas HS winterguards how appreciated they are this season if you ever get the chance. Their performers are some of the most dedicated that I have ever seen at World Championships and over social media. I have the utmost confidence that Gina's legacy will be carried with each of them as they perform.

Cover Image Credit: Stoneman Douglas HS

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Why I'm Pro-Choice

Abortion: a necessary evil.
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I live in a very conservative area, so the pro-choice/pro-life debate is usually a hot topic. When I see a post on Facebook arguing about abortion, I try to ignore it for the most part. I chime in every now and then, but I know that my opinions mostly fall on deaf ears. But today I have decided to take a stance: I am pro-choice, and I have something to say.

Let me start off by saying that I am not pro-abortion. I think abortion is terrible and it’s sad that it exits. But, I do think that abortion is necessary. In the 50s and 60s, before Roe v. Wade, the number of illegal abortions was astronomically high. The number of illegal abortions ranged anywhere between 200,000 and over 1 million each year. Out of these, almost 20% of all maternal deaths were a result of illegal abortions. (source)

Since the legalization of abortion, many women now have access to the proper medical care necessary for safe abortions. The amount of women that die as a direct result of abortion is almost non-existent. The past has proven that make abortion illegal wont stop abortions from happening. This will only increase the amount of unsafe abortions and the number of women who die from them.

My next opinion is bound to make some people upset but, until it reaches a certain age, there is no way for a fetus to survive on its own. At this stage in development, the fetus is essentially a parasite. A parasite is defined as “an organism that lives in or on another organism (its host) and benefits by deriving nutrients at the host's expense.” Until a fetus reaches the stage at which it is able to survive on its own, I do not consider it to be a person. It sounds harsh, but it’s simply the reality of the situation. The earliest that a fetus can survive outside of the womb is about 22 weeks. (source) Abortions rarely occur after this stage in a pregnancy, and when they do, it is only when a doctor says that it is medically necessary. As of now, almost 99% of abortions occur before the 21st week of pregnancy. (source)

A lot of people will argue that, “if you don’t want a baby, you shouldn’t have sex.” This, I believe, is an irresponsible statement to make. Yes, it seems like the obvious solution, but one that is impossible to enforce. Instead of shaming women for their sex lives, we should be encouraging and education on safe sex practices and making it easier for them to obtain contraceptives. This would greatly decrease the need for abortions because it would decrease the number of unwanted pregnancies overall. Not to mention that over half of the women that receive abortions already have at least one child. (source)

We can argue about whether or not life begins at conception. We can argue about religious or moral reasons for not having abortions. But the fact of the matter is: abortion is necessary, whether you like it or not.

Cover Image Credit: http://clipart-library.com/clipart/8i65erMbT.htm

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