by Samantha Selikoff, NJEA Relations Chair, The College of New Jersey
To be entirely honest, my decision to attend the Women’s March in Washington D.C. was one filled with some doubt and great deliberation. Part of this hesitation stemmed from the citizens protesting the day prior at President Trump’s Inauguration, but in the end, I am happy and grateful that I attended the Women’s March as it is an event I will fondly remember years later.
The Women’s March was a truly remarkable and unforgettable experience. As of late, the news had been so negative that it seemed at times easy to forget the good in the world, and being surrounded by the incredible, positive energy at this event was exactly what I needed. We marched over a staggering ten miles, and the entire time everyone I encountered was friendly, which was welcomed because nowadays we often see people absorbed on their phone and forget how powerful a simple smile or greeting or remark from a stranger can be. Even the residents of the area were generous by setting up coffee and water stations outside their homes. Some even opened up their home to let marchers use the restroom. Police were cheering on the marchers, as well, which added to the positive, energetic atmosphere. I was happy and pleasantly surprised to see that no arrests were made in the Washington D.C. march. In fact, I was substituting in a class the other day that contained a “Good News…Good Vibes” bulletin board; this bulletin board displayed upbeat and optimistic events like this one, and I think more people should begin showcasing the good in these events.
I, personally, marched for numerous reasons. I marched for equality for all groups of people – not just women. I marched for my students because I do not want anything to hold a child back from reaching his or her full potential as these children are our future and could have the ability to change the world one day. As an educator, we fight for all students – no matter gender, race, religion, etc. That is why I chose to march. Whether you supported the issues presented in this march or not – and no matter which political party you lean towards – the Women’s March was, in my opinion, an incredible experience. It brought such an immense and diverse crows of people together in a peaceful way to make their voices heard. Without a doubt, I am grateful to NJSEA and NJEA for encouraging me to step outside of my comfort zone and take part in that historic day.