Students and faculty participated in the Women’s March of Los Angeles Jan. 21 alongside an estimated 750,000 other protesters.
Cami Katz ’19 was the Chair of the Women’s March Teen Outreach Committee. Prior to the event, she reached out to Harvard-Westlake students and other high schoolers across the city. Her mom, Deena Katz, was a co chair for the march.
“I think the march wants to empower people to stand up for what’s important to them,” Cami Katz said. “Clearly, I’m not very excitedabout the new presidency, but I feel like this march is going to set off a lot more people genuinely caring and standing up for our rights.”
Katz also arranged for Upper School Attendance Coordinator Gabe Preciado to give students three hours of community service credit for participating in the event.
“I think the march was an astonishing success,” Katz said. “750,000 people strong, this ended up being one of the largest women’s marches in history. I’m so proud to have been part of something like this, and being able to watch it all unfold gave me a sense of empowerment that I hope other people were able to experience too.”
In light of President Donald Trump’s inauguration, Charlotte Weinman ’18 said she attended the march in solidarity with minority groups targeted by Trump’s rhetoric.
“Even though Trump’s presidency likely will not affect me personally, I want to use my privilege to defend those who are systematically disadvantaged,” Weinman said. “I believe that going to this march was the first form of action I could take to that effect.”
Likewise, Wilder Short ’18 said he went to the protest to show support for women across the country.
“The president has shown that he is a misogynist with his statements in the past, and it is important to stand united against his hatred,” Short said. “The president should be someone who reflects the values and ideals of the Americans living in this country, someone who is all inclusive to anyone anywhere.”
In preparation for the march, Dani Mirell ’17 made signs with her mom, Criminal Law and Advocacy teacher Laurie Levenson. She said that the march enabled her to take action in a positive way.
“Most people say we can’t do much, but there are things we can do,” Mirell said. “We can show our support, we can get loud and we can make sure we’re heard. I think it’s important to spread love across this country that’s so divided and polarized.”
Talia Lefkowitz ’17 said she is worried about what Trump’s election means for the future of women. She said she resonated with the march’s emphasis on women’s rights.
“I think that women in the past few decades have made some major strides, but with the election of Donald Trump, I feel like we’ve taken a step back,” Lefkowitz said. “It’s important to bring issues surrounding gender equality to the forefront.”
After going to the march, Anya Andrews ’17 said she felt inspired by the diversity among protesters at the Women’s March.
“I saw so many little kids running around with ‘power to the people’ t-shirts and ‘love trumps hate’ signs,” Andrews said. “It just made me so excited that there are people out there of all types fighting for what’s right.”
Faculty members, including Upper School Dean Vanna Cairns, counselor Luba Bek and science teachers Wendy Van Norden and Karen Hutchison, also attended the march. Cairns described the event as exhilarating.
In addition to attending the march, some Harvard-Westlake students participated in other political protests. Josh Musicant ’17, Jake Broder ’17, Cam Stine ’17 and Jenny Lange ’17 went to the United Against Hate Inauguration Protest on Jan. 20.
Although many students who went to the march said that attending the protest gave them a sense of empowerment, they also said they feel worried about the protection of human rights under Trump’s presidency.
“The day that Trump was elected, I woke up to my mother’s tears, and went on to spend the day witnessing the same from many of my friends,” Short said. “No one should have to feel that way anywhere in the world, especially not in the United States of America.”