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.)
4 responses to “‘I Think Everyone Should Be Involved’: Local Teens Protest Inequality”
Cassiy & Andie – I’m proud of you for becoming a part of the attentive public and exercising your freedoms of speech and peaceful assembly. It doesn’t matter the issue or ideology, politician or party – participation is essential to preserve our American democracy.
So long as the protests are peaceful, positive, and have a reason. Beating down Trump supporters simply because they voice an opinion (and yes, I understand that not everyone does this, but the groups that are protesting have been notorious for condoning this kind of behavior). Left or Right, everyone has unalienable rights in the first amendment, and that should be upheld on both sides of the spectrum. Frankly, I don’t see Hillary Clinton supporters being beaten or kidnapped and tortured, I see quite the opposite…
A real demonstration is always peaceful and protected (and encouraged) by the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I’ m glad to read about these young people exercises those rights. Be aware that there are various local groups working toward protecting civil rights for all of us.
To be frank, this article really shows the types of folks who engage in these types of protests: people who protest for freedom of speech and equality, but who protest a politician’s right to speak. Rights for minorities have already been established for some time, in fact, I believe that of all people, whites are those being oppressed by minority interest groups like Black Lives Matter. If you believe in equality for women, you should protest the fact that women make up more than 90% of all nurses and kindergarten teachers, but make up less than 10% of all construction workers and other skill trades. Blacks and minorities are being infantilized by programs like affirmative action, which seek to lower the standards of an entire race or ethnic group, simply because they are made that way. If you are unaware, that is called racism, the preferential treatment or subhuman treatment of another based upon the melanin levels in their skin.
I believe in the first amendment and I think that everyone has the constitutional right to protest their political beliefs peacefully. While it is true that marches remained largely peaceful, anti-Trump rallies have left many Americans injured, regardless of politics, that is disgraceful. The Women’s March in Washington D.C. had no arrests because there was no police backlash after the marching had been canceled due to a large turnout, and they marched anyway, straying from the previously canceled marching route, too.