Women’s Center aims to galvanize participation in Women’s March


(Katie Pach/The Daily Northwestern) Buttons are available from the Women’s Center and various points on campus to express solidarity with the Women’s March on Chicago. The Women’s Center is encouraging support for the march.

Matthew Choi, Campus Editor

The Women’s Center launched Tuesday an effort to encourage the Northwestern community to support the Women’s March on Chicago, protesting President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration later this week.

The center began its campaign by distributing free buttons displaying the phrase “Wildcats for Women’s Rights” across campus. In addition to the buttons, which are available from the Women’s Center, Hobart House, Norris University Center and Technological Institute, students and staff will also meet at the Davis CTA stop Saturday to travel to the march.

The Women’s Center wanted to mobilize people to attend the march on Chicago after seeing several students expressing interest in going to the event, interim director Alecia Wartowski said. The Women’s Center had already reached out to Evanston organizers who are planning on transporting more than 200 city residents to the Women’s March on Washington, hoping to find ways for Northwestern students to also attend, Wartowski said. Realizing travel to the District could be prohibitive in terms of time and money, Wartowski said they began looking for other ways for people to get engaged locally.

“(Buttons) will help you identify sort of your community that are down there, but also these buttons will be signs of solidarity and opportunities for people to identify each other,” she said.

Emma Sarappo, a student worker at the Women’s Center, said she jumped on the idea to publicize the Women’s March around campus. Wartowski pitched the idea of making free buttons, and Sarappo designed them along with posters — distributing both around campus — and social media promotions.

Sarappo, who has worked at the Women’s Center since Fall Quarter of her freshman year, said the initiative brought the most foot traffic she had ever seen into the center.

“I’m also excited to do local engagement, really connect with more local organizations, including organizations on campus and people who care about women’s rights on campus,” the Medill sophomore said. “I’m really excited to get out there and be part of such a vocal and large demonstration, to send a message that women’s rights are human rights.“

Communication junior Jamie Joeyen-Waldorf, who plans to attend the march in Chicago, said she was eager to see Northwestern take such an active role in encouraging dialogue and action on women’s issues.

“It’s a great sentiment behind the whole thing given the current political climate and future decisions against women,” Joeyen-Waldorf said. “It’s a way for women to come together to show their support not just for the stereotypical white feminist thought but also for intersectional feminism.”

Wartowski also emphasized the importance of engaging in intersectional activism, particularly in light of national conversations on identity. In the past few years, dialogue has shifted to highlight the various manifestations of sexism, she said.

The march will be an opportunity to celebrate all aspects of people’s identities, Wartowski said, and she hopes participants will use the march to engage with these issues more vigorously.

“There’s a buzz and people are already entering our space and grabbing them and getting excited about it — means that they are thirsty,” she said “It’s not just about women. It’s not just about people of color. It’s about the intersection of all of our different social identities with the idea that our country works best when all of us have the opportunity to thrive together.”

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