This article was written by Olivia Minzola.
BLOOMSBURG, PA – Thousands of women, men, and children across America took to the streets on Saturday January 20th, 2018, aiming to put an end to a multitude of serious matters including sexual harassment, deportation, unequal pay, and for some, Donald Trump’s presidency. Downtown Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania was home to one of the many Women’s Marches that took place that very day.
Colorful hand-made posters decorated the country’s urban and suburban landscapes as they were raised high into the air by their proud creators. Some of these posters included popular mantras such as “Stand up for your rights”, “Resist, vote, replace”, and “Stop destroying immigrant families”.
The march, which had a sizeable turnout of about 150 people, featured daring performances by the “I Can’t Keep Quiet” choir and an open mic period where several people stepped up to share speeches and spontaneously spoke from the heart.
The hostess of the event, Jill Carlson of Columbia County Indivisible, commented “It is easy to get discouraged [while] watching the news today. However, it is helpful to have the opportunity to have [and to share] your voice and to spend time with others who share your values and concerns as well.”
Although many people came to support the march, it seemed to lack the participation and help of Bloomsburg University students and clubs/organizations. The absence did not go unnoticed.
When asked about it, Carlson responded, “I saw only several participants who were either BU faculty or staff. Because the march was held during BU’s winter break, there were not a lot of students in town, I believe.”
Carlson was polite enough to take some of the blame for the noticeable absences when she said, “Hopefully, we will give ourselves more time to plan and promote the next march! We did promote this march through the BU Indivisible group but could use help getting the word out on campus. We would love to connect and collaborate with campus clubs and organizations. Posters downtown is an excellent idea as well.”
Amid the notice of absences, Carlson did manage to recognize two familiar faces in the large crowd.
Coordinators of the Women’s Resource Center, an active organization on Bloomsburg University’s campus were noticed at the march. “I was thrilled that Albra Wheeler and Monica Johnson of the Women’s Resource Center joined us in Handmaid robes!”
Carlson and the rest of the BU Indivisible group hope to see more BU students, administration, and clubs/organizations attend next year’s Women’s March.
“I encourage everyone, but especially young adults, to pay attention to what is going on [in the world] and to do what you can to bring about positive change. I always say that change happens at the ballot box. There are 10,000 students at BU. Their potential political power is enormous,” said Carlson.