Marie Fischer—Growing up, there was never a time that I was scared to go to school, the concern of my safety never being an issue. Today, I can’t help but think about what a luxury I’ve been given to never fear sitting in my classroom for fear of not making it home. But is that really something I should consider a luxury? Shouldn’t this be something we should all just expect?
Whenever I’ve seen the photos from the Women’s Marches, I always wish I had been a part of that. This past weekend, it was my boyfriend who ended up convincing me to accompany him to go to the March for Our Lives march in Rochester, an easy 30 minutes away from campus. At first I was hesitant, not because I didn’t want to be a part of it. But simply because it was something that I had never done.
Upon arrival, it was crazy to witness the amount of people who were there. I would have never expected a turnout like this in Rochester. But as we got up to the park where the rally was happening, it was clear we weren’t going to be able to easily swim towards the front to see the speakers.
What really struck me, was the diversity in age among the crowd. I figured it was going to be more of a turnout for kids my age, but I stood amongst women who were twice my age and those even younger than I. Everyone was fully engaged to not only the speakers, but to one another throughout this entire rally.
Following the rally, we ended up walking a few blocks around Rochester. And this to me was the most fascinating part to witness. I have been in a number of organizations that permit me to work as a small asset to a bigger picture, but this was something different. I’ve never walked among hundreds of people with the same passion. And you could feel this energy the entire time, whether it be through the chanting, the walking through the streets. It was just such a palpable moment you can’t fully understand unless you were there.
The coolest moment? There was a time where we stood on the bridge on E Broad Street and glanced over to the bridge opposite of us on Court Street where we had just been, to witness hundreds of more people still walking. Here I was, thinking I was in the thick of it when truly it was just the beginning.
I’m not here to tell people what to believe in, or even spread my own beliefs. But what I will say is push for safety, care for others, and as Emma Gonzalez so eloquently put it, fight for your lives before it’s someone else’s job.