Bluffton contingent participates in Women’s March

Written by Sophie Hobbs

Many students and faculty members on campus heard about the Women’s March in Washington D.C., but not many attended and participated in the major march in D.C.

Brista Drake, a sophomore art and writing major, traveled with her younger brother to D.C. to participate in the Women’s March.

Drake and her brother rode a bus with people from all over Ohio.

“After getting on, we drove to another town to pick up a couple other people,” says Drake.

Not only were there thousands of people participating, there were also hundreds of celebrities participating as well.  

“I liked seeing Scarlett Johansson talk,” says Drake. “And seeing Alicia Keys perform.”

Drake’s favorite part was when she and her brother received hats from another marcher.

“She came up to us on the subway and asked if she could film us picking out these hats,” says Drake. “People from back home knitted them so this woman could hand them out.”

There were multiple speeches, which took about four hours. The wait to use the bathrooms was at least 45 minutes to an hour.

“Later on in the speeches, people started shouting ‘March! March!’ we wanted to march,” says Drake. “They had speaker after speaker.”

Although Drake only marched for about an hour, she says that she loved the experience of participating in the march. 

“I don’t feel like I’m an activist,” says Drake. “But I’m the only one of my friends that actively wanted to go.”

The overall atmosphere was very intense. “We all wanted to be very hyped, but we were feeling very tense.” says Drake.

Drake had a similar experience to others that attended the march.  

Melissa Friesen, the department chair of the communications department and a Bluffton professor, also attended the women’s march in D.C.

Friesen joined Wendy Chappell-Dick, a Bluffton local, who organized a charter bus for people in the area to attend the march. So many people showed interest in riding the bus that Chappell-Dick organized another bus.

“She got such a great response that she ended up ordering a second bus,” Friesen said. “We filled two charter buses from the Bluffton area.”

There were approximately 110 people between the two buses, Friesen said. The riders had non-violence training before they departed. The training was led by Bluffton’s own Erin Burkholder, director of Adult and Graduate Studies.

Friesen and the other bus riders traveled overnight to arrive on time to D.C. They stopped multiple times throughout the night, and arrived in D.C. around 7:30 a.m.

“We went to the subway immediately,” said Friesen. “We went straight to the mall where the protest was.”

Other faculty members also attended the march, such as Julie DeGraw, Cynthia Bandish, Steve Harnish, Erin Burkholder, Karen Bontrager and others.

“My favorite part was the positive attitude,” Friesen said. “People were there with a positive energy, the spirit was more uplifting and positive.”

Friesen and the other members that attended the march with her did not participate in the actual march itself.

“I was really looking forward to the physical marching,” Friesen said. “But there were too many people for the official march to happen safely.”

Many other smaller marches took place down side roads and back roads, but the planned route for the march was much too small for the amount of participants to pass through safely.

“We marched down a side street for about three blocks on our way out,” Friesen said. “The part I was there for, we were standing all day, and that was a challenge.”

The bathrooms were port-a-potties. Friesen had to wait more than an hour to use the bathroom.
The march in D.C. was the largest by far, yet there were many smaller marches throughout other cities all over the country. Ohio was one of many states that featured multiple marches throughout the day.

Beyonce said it best in her song Run the World with “Who runs the world? Girls.”

Photo by Brista Drake

Photo by Brista Drake.

Photo by Brista Drake.

Photo by Brista Drake

Photo by Brista Drake

Photo by Brista Drake

About the author

Sophie Hobbs

Hometown: Lewisburg, Ohio
Major: Communication
I'm working for the Wit because I love writing and I want people to know what's happening on campus!
An interesting fact: My sister and I share a birthday, but she's eight years older than me.
Career Goals: To enjoy working and to be able to follow my morals and ethics in the career I choose.

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