Friday Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president. Trump’s inauguration ushered in a swell of protests and marches across the nation.
This past weekend many USF students made their way toward Tallahassee and other major cities in the state to march.
Katie Shrum, a student majoring in women and gender studies, attended the March in Tallahassee along with over a dozen USF students on the Planned Parenthood-hosted shuttle.
Shrum said she originally intended to march in Washington, D.C., however, upon speaking to her Planned Parenthood representatives she realized the “importance of local change in our political climate.”
“I decided that staying in Florida and going with Planned Parenthood was the way that I could best effect social change,” Shrum said.
Shrum said she recognized Florida was an at-risk state as far as women’s rights are concerned and wanted to use this march as a means to display that protesting is a positive and beneficial thing, as opposed to the usual negative connotations she said are usually associated with the action.
The goal was to amend the idea that young protesters, such as students, are somehow less organized than others. Shrum said it was important to show “we as young activists are trying to organize to actually change our local government.”
Shrum’s hope for this March was that leading a group of USF students in the protest would allow for the spread of activism in the USF community, which would lead to more involvement in local and national issues.
Though the idea of the women’s march was intended to bring awareness to equality regarding topics such as reproductive rights and the wage gap, it was considered in the end to be a march for women’s rights, immigrant rights, LGBT rights and equality among all races and religions.
These all-inclusive marches across the country drew crowds over 1 million worldwide,The Women’s March on Tallahassee drew an estimated crowd of 16,000, the St. Petersburg march drew a crowd of over 20,000 people, and Sarasota saw over 10,000, according to USA Today.
The marches in Los Angeles reached 750,000 participants, in New York City 250,000 and in Chicago somewhere between 150,000 to 250,000 participants took the streets to rally for the cause.
It was the intention of march organizers across the country to begin the move for change in local politics by standing in solidarity with the Washington, D.C., march.
Becky Smith, a freshman mass communications major, was among several USF students at the Planned Parenthood march shuttle pick-up early Saturday morning.
She said she has never participated in any sort of activism or protest before, but was excited to play her role in local change via the women’s march and to spark a much-needed conversation.
“I think if you have an opportunity to use your voice you should,” Smith said.