Saline Women Reflect On Their March on Washington

 01/31/2017 - 02:09
Valerie Mann (right) with her daughter Ellery Hatopp (middle) and Ann Arbor resident Janet Tarry are pictured in front of the United States Capitol.

On Jan. 21, more than 1 million women marched in Washington DC. Another 4 million participated in marches around the United States and world.

The reasons for the protest were many, from President Donald Trump’s obscene and misogynistic behavior to this administration’s rhetoric and policies about reproductive rights, immigration, gay rights, the environment, health care and the environment.

We caught up with three Saline-area women who attended the march and asked them to share their thoughts and memories.

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Anne Marshall

Why did you attend?

I wanted to attend the march to show my solidarity with other women and to represent those Americans who haven’t had the advantages that I have had in my life. I walked because I believe the new administration threatens to destroy the legal rights of people that I love. Many of my friends in the LGBTQ community were only recently able to marry and those legal rights could now be threatened. I marched to support my friends and their rights to make their own choices. I walked for Trayvon Martin. I walked for the woman who was raped by Brock Turner. I also marched in defense of the Affordable Care Act. While I was receiving treatment for cancer in 2008/2009, I met patients covered by the ACA who otherwise may not have been able to receive life-saving treatment.

What message did you want to send?

Originally, I had simply hoped that we would send a message to the new administration that we are going to be watching and protesting. But once at the march, the reasons became larger. Critics want to make this march about the abortion issue but it was so much more than that. The march was about the solidarity of women and because it was about multiple issues it struck me that even if different reasons brought us there, we were united in human rights, equality and the environment.

Describe one moment you think you’ll always remember.

Looking at all of the young women, young girls marching was inspiring. Their lives being validated by the march. I felt proud and hopeful knowing that these young people would be the next line of voters. They saw that they belonged, were strong and were supported. It was an incredible feeling of hope, and gratitude to be a part of something so powerful, large and loud!

Why was it important for women, specifically, to do this?

I think that women often put their needs last, taking care of their families and jobs first. Many women were there participating in a march/protest for the first time in their lives. They felt compelled to take action. They wanted to be heard. This march was about putting our business first. It was also amazing to see so many women in their 60’s, 70’s and older, still wearing their ERA buttons from the 70’s and marching once again for the rights they feel are again being threatened.

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What do you think you accomplished?

I was overwhelmed with the sheer number of people there but everyone was very positive and the DC police were great, unobtrusive yet present. I believe that we sent a message that we do have power and more importantly we can have social, political and economic power. The slogan Stronger Together. We will boycott businesses that support policies or people we object to www.grabyourwallet.org). We will support businesses that support our values. We will support each other and show up.

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Ellery Hatopp and her mom, Valerie Mann

Valerie Mann

Why did you attend?

My daughter asked if we could go and I was going to check in to it, then my friend's 75 year old mom said 'let's go, will you go with me?' and that sealed the deal. My daughter was fuming after the election, as was I, and it seemed that taking some action would put our energies to better work than just sitting around mad and fighting on social media. She was too young to vote in this election, so it gave her a great way to voice her opinion. Also, my daughter had never been to DC before and I thought it would be great for her to see the Capitol. Most of the government buildings and museums right where we were, were closed, but it was still great to share the place with her.

What message did you want to send?

The message is to our representative government at large, and, I suppose the rest of the country. The content of the message is nearly overwhelming, as we still struggle for equal pay, 45 years after the ERA was passed by Congress, but failed to be ratified by the states and become part of the Constitution. Women's healthcare and reproductive rights are big issues, as well as equal representation in government. When we have greater representation in government, I expect the many issues being advocated for at the Women's Marches will be solved more proactively.

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The crowd watches as Madonna sings.

Describe one moment you think you’ll always remember.

We walked the 20+ blocks from RFK stadium to the National Museum of the American Indian. My 75 year-old friend was a BOSS! But we were pretty exhausted after 'sleeping' on the bus the night before and walking, so when organizers announced that the march wasn't going to happen because it just 'was', meaning the route for the march was FILLED with marchers and there was nowhere to go, we started to try to move through the crowd to get out and find a restaurant. As we inched through the mob by the stage, we could see Dr. Angela Davis speaking, then Amy Schumer came on and announced Madonna. My daughter turned to me, eyes wide with surprise and I just smiled back at her. I think I'll remember that always. The power of all those people together - and it was the most diverse crowd I'd ever seen - was something to behold.

Why was it important for women, specifically, to do this?

As women, at a very young age, we're sold a bill of goods of self-hatred that we carry around with us most of the time.....sometimes we remember to put it down and be our awesome selves, sometimes we choose to beat other women down with it. There were a lot of articles that went around about women before the election - how we treat one another, pro-feminist, anti- feminist.....if we could focus on the big things and not get caught up in things like taking rights away from people, we could accomplish so much. Women, so often, don't get caught up in politics, the discussion part of it violates all the 'nice girl' stuff we've been abused with. We are great consensus-makers - we have to be able to discuss ideas and take those discussions less personally.

What do you think you accomplished?

I think we turned out in numbers no one could dream of - certainly DC infrastructure was unprepared for it. Folks put a lot of effort into getting out to the marches in cities all over - again, in numbers unpredicted. I saw connections being made between women, information being swapped. I believe women saw that we need to help whomever emerges as advocates, get them elected and use our voting power to change things up for mid-terms.

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Celia Fellin

Why did you attend?

I went to the march with some women from Ann Arbor. I met up with my daughter and several of her college friends. I attended the march because I believe the new administration needed to see and know that there are many women, and men, who will stand up against planned policy changes that infringe upon our constitutional and human rights. Many of the planned policies represent blatant disregard for human rights. The issue that resonates most with me is the legislation related to women's reproductive rights. Fundamentally, what a woman does with her body is up to her and her alone. The government should not legislate healthcare decisions for a woman or anyone. Legislation related to women's health is being driven by religious ideology. Religion has no place in our government. Period. Additionally, abortion may seem like a black and white issue to some, it is not. Frankly, your opinion on abortion is just that - your opinion.

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What message did you want to send?

I also marched for the LBGQT community, immigrants, and the disabled. I believe that these communities are the most vulnerable under the new administration. I do think a message was sent to the administration that there are a huge number of people who oppose their planned policies - real people showed up at the march and marches around the globe.

Describe one moment you think you’ll always remember.

The most memorable moment for me was getting out at the rest stops on our way to Washington and being surrounded by pussy hats. The rest stops were full of women on their way to the march. There was so much solidarity and excitement 

among the strangers filling the rest stops. This continued as we flooded the over packed subway cars on our way to the march and over flooded the streets of Washington. Downtown Washington was wall to wall marchers filling the entire march route and other streets as well.

Tran Longmoore
Tran Longmoore is owner of The Saline Post. Email him at tran@thesalinepost.com or call him at 734-272-6294

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Tran Longmoore
Tran Longmoore is owner of The Saline Post. Email him at tran@thesalinepost.com or call him at 734-272-6294

Follow the author on         or visit   Personal Blog