By: ALLISSA CORAK
“Two, four, six, eight! Stop the violence! Stop the hate!”
That was just one of the many chants shouted by hundreds of people of all ages and races who gathered in downtown South Bend Saturday to march for women’s rights.
The nationwide marches began just hours after the Donald Trump’s inauguration as President.
The march started with a peaceful protest and a speech by South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg in front of the Morris Performing Arts Center. A short while later, the participants made their way down the sidewalks of South Bend all with a common goal: equal rights for women and those in the LGBTQ community.
“We’re out here. We’re representing feminism and women-power, and we’re also representing the queer community,” said IU South Bend senior and Queer Straight Alliance member, Michael McMillion.
Students weren’t the only ones fighting for rights, IUSB faculty and city officials took part as well.
“The message we are trying to convey is women’s rights are human rights, and I think at a rally like this, we see not just women, but their allies.—so their kids, their spouses, their brothers. We’re more than half of the population, and globally, women are oppressed and suppressed economically, politically and socially.” said April Lidinsky, director of IUSB Women’s and Gender Studies.
Many marchers, were astonished by the number of people that came out to show support.
Councilman Oliver Davis said as a brother, son and father, it is very important to him that all voices are heard. He said he was amazed to see all ages taking part in the fight.
“It has to cross generational lines, everybody from young to old has to hold hands and say, ‘We are not taking this no more.’ And until you say that, people will continue to step on you,” he said. “My mother has a saying. If someone steps on you, you better say ‘ouch’ because you’ll keep getting stepped on. Today the community is saying ‘ouch.”
Even though the community’s voice was heard loud and clear, Lidinsky acknowledges there is still more work to be done.
“People understand that a rally is wonderful but it’s just a start,” she said. “We need to be active every single day.”