BOSTON — Lynn high school students braved the bitter cold to march for women’s rights on Saturday.
More than a dozen members from Lynn’s Girls Inc., and a handful of male students from the city’s KIPP Academy, took the trip into Boston, along with nearly 20,000 other people. The Lynn students said they were excited for the chance to have their voices heard at the 2019 Boston Women’s March, put on by nonprofit organization March Forward Massachusetts.
For most of the high schoolers, they had never experienced a march before, according to Lena Crowley, director of the middle and high school programs at Girls Inc.
“It gives us the opportunity to stand up for what we believe in and fight for what’s right,” said 14-year-old Angelina Nhiv.
The atmosphere was powerful, yet seemingly calm. With the thousands of handmade signs on display, attendees of the march had zero fear of expressing their opinions. With phrases such as “Women’s rights are human rights,” “We are the granddaughters of the witches you couldn’t burn,” a number of quotes from popular songs by famous musicians such as Ariana Grande and Drake, and too-many-to-count signs with colorfully negative thoughts on President Donald Trump, it was clear that no one held back.
“As soon as I learned the march was happening, I thought this could be a really great experience for our girls,” said Crowley. “It’s an opportunity to let their voices be heard and for them to be able to do something about everything they hear in the media, about what’s going on in our country, and it’s a way for them to advocate for what they need as young girls and women.”
The age diversity of the crowd was arguably the most powerful testament of the day. There were infants with their parents, toddlers parading in Women’s March merchandise while holding mini signs of their own, teenagers growing empowered while cheering on the array of guest speakers, and older couples encouraging kind words and freedom of speech.
“It’s important for women to have rights,” said 14-year-old Nelson Carrion, a Lynn KIPP Academy student. “Today, in our society, women are treated less than. By us (men) being here, it shows we want to stand up for their rights. If men aren’t including themselves, then it shows they don’t care how women feel.”
The lack of equal rights for not only women, but people with disabilities, those in the LGBTQ community, and people of color were also addressed during the many speeches given. While there were close to two dozen inspirational speakers throughout the day, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley had the crowd cheering as the march’s keynote speaker.
Pressley ended her appearance by inviting up all the speakers who are elected officials or have run for office in the past, and recited a commitment for the thousands of people in front of them. The commitment encouraged all the women in attendance to take the fight for their rights even further by running for office.
“What we saw and what we put forth in 2018 was work,” said Pressley. “We are just getting started.”
Then, 20,000 people took to the streets of Boston to walk in solidarity for equal rights.
“There are people who care about the same issues these girls do and there are people working to make things better for women and girls in this country,” said Crowley. For them to see that people in this society do care is important.”