Last Saturday will be forever remembered in history. The 2017 Women’s March on Washington D.C. drew an estimated half a million people, including one Gays Mills woman and her sister.
The 2017 Women’s March is described as a political rally that took place in cities around the world to stand up for women’s rights and a variety of other causes including immigration reform, healthcare reform, protection of the natural environment, LGBTQ rights; the rights of Muslims, racial justice, and workers’ rights.
Samantha Olson of Gays Mills found out about the march and felt compelled to attend.
“I had a strong feeling I needed to be there, and I’m not one to get out there and protest,” Olson explained.
Initially, Olson had hoped to attend the march with her daughter. Unable to get out of her work obligations, her daughter decided to participate in the Madison march with her boyfriend who is a UW-Madison College student.
Unable to go with her daughter, Olson convinced her sister to tag along.
“We decided that we would visit family in Michigan and Maryland, Olson said of the trip with her sister. “Once we left Michigan, we decided we would also stop in New York City, just to see what it looked like.”
The pair departed Crawford County Wednesday, Jan. 18 and arrived back Sunday afternoon, just in time to catch the Green Bay Packers-Atlanta Falcon National Football Conference Championship Game.
As they drew closer to our nation’s capital, Olson was floored by the amount of people making their way there.
“It was crazy, the entire freeway was packed with people, charter busses, and cars,” Olson recalled. “It just made me feel so good to be around people who feel the same way I do. A lot of my (extended) family was against what I did (going to the march), it almost makes me want to cry thinking about it. But I don’t care what they think anymore. It changed my whole life seeing so many people coming together. It gave me strength. My immediate family is proud of me though, my husband and kids were very supportive of us going.”
Once in Washington, Olson and her sister parked and began walking.
“We did most of our ‘marching’ on the way there,” Olson said. “Once we got to the streets adjacent to the demonstration, there wasn’t much moving. It seemed like they were afraid of trampling others.”
Olson noted that they spent about two hours in the crowd and the rest of an entire day getting through the traffic and fellow marchers before departing for Wisconsin.
Olson told the Independent-Scout that what was really going on was conversations.
“It was people talking, and listening to each other. It was people saying we are not going away,” Olson said. “Everyone was there. It wasn’t about hating Donald Trump, it was more about supporting each other.”
She also noted that, although in one of the most crime-ridden cities in America, she felt safe; “It was very peaceful, there were many, many, many police officers and military individuals present, but no one was getting out of hand.”
Later, when someone on Olson’s social media asked why people were marching, she had this response, “I marched because I love and value the country that I live in. I marched because I respect the office and the presidency and I expect whoever holds that office to respect it as well! I marched because I will not normalize hate speech! I marched because ‘boys will be boys’ is not an excuse acceptable for disrespect. I marched for women who believe Donald Trump’s ‘locker room talk’ is normal and represents all men, because it represents the men they know. I marched for the men who were taught that their worth as a person lies in how aggressive or dominant they are. I marched for public education. I am so very proud and honored to have marched alongside so many passionate people. I only hope I have raised strong daughters and sons who will appreciate the struggle for equal and civil rights for all Americans. But most of all I marched for my autistic son.”