West Bend students participated in the Women’s March in Madison
By Hannah Bensen, Editor in Chief
Cassiy Walker and Andie Schibline may not be of voting age, but they do not let their youth prevent them from participating in American democracy.
On Saturday, Jan. 21, Walker and Schibline were compelled to take part in the Women’s March in Madison. It was the first act of protest for Walker, a West Bend East High senior who will turn 18 in February. Schibline, a senior at West High, had some experience with peaceful demonstrations, having previously protested at the Trump rally in August at the Washington County Fairgrounds.
“I wanted to attend [the Women’s March] because the cause spoke to me,” Walker said. “I was really excited and empowered to participate in my first march, and I was surrounded by people who wanted the same equality. It was really cool.”
The march began at the beginning of State Street and ended at the capitol building. Walker and Schibline engaged in various chants and cheers that promoted equality for women and minorities. They walked for about three hours and noticed that there was a diverse group of people participating, from young children to elderly men and women.
“To have the opportunity to come together with people of every gender, color, religion, age, and sexual orientation to bring awareness to these issues [of equality] was something I wanted so badly to be a part of,” Schibline said.
Although the process of the election has been polarizing, it has managed to unite an entire group of people across the world in support of equality for all people. Walker said that there was an estimate of 100,000 participants in Madison, and a total of three million participants across the world.
“I was really excited and empowered to participate in my first march.”
– Cassiy Walker, East senior
“Participation is at the core of American democracy,” said Mark Drake, a West social studies teacher. “First, students need to get educated and passionate about a topic. Then, students need to find a positive way to express their feelings about that topic. So many times students feel that their voice doesn’t matter because they’re not respected or not old enough to vote. However, there are many ways that students can participate in our democracy right now, such as joining an interest group, donating money, volunteering their time, and peacefully marching.”
Schibline certainly fits these qualifications. She has always felt passionate about “LGBT rights, rights for people of color, women’s rights, and climate change.”
Moving forward, both Walker and Schibline feel that women should not be the only proponents of women’s rights.
“I don’t think this is just a women’s issue,” Walker said. “I think everyone should be involved because these things are going to affect your sister, your mother, or your child.”
“Although it was called the ‘Women’s March,’ the people marching were there to support the human rights of all people, not just women,” Schibline said. “This march was about equal rights for all minorities.”
(Photographs courtesy of Cassiy Walker.)