Responses from the Memphis Women's March

On Friday, January 20, 2017, Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States, following an election fraught with deeply contrasted views of the man who promised to, among other things, defund Planned Parenthood, temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States, reduce the $18 trillion national debt, and sign an executive order seeking the death penalty for anyone found guilty of killing a police officer. The following day, over 3 million people responded to these policy items with marches through primary arteries in cities around the world. In Memphis, between 6,000 - 9,000 marchers joined the masses throughout the world as they made their walked in the shadow of enveloping buildings on a sunny Saturday morning down Second Street in downtown Memphis before ending up at the National Civil Rights Museum. Below are some responses from members of the CBU community who took part in the march, and some of the reflections from the day. Quotes have been condensed and edited for formatting purposes. 

There was a sense of taking part in something historic, especially when we ended at the Civil Rights Museum. There, in the shadow of the place where hope seemed to die for a lot of people, only to rise again with more resolve and support, I felt more assured about our collective future, and reminded that there was still much work to be done.

Dr. J. Seth Lee

Photo: Seth Lee


If the demonstrations do nothing else, perhaps they’ve reminded millions of people across the United States and the world that they are not alone. This is power.

Dr. Alison Ann Lukowski

Photo: Alison Lukowski 


There was a notable absence of the kind of antagonistic police presence—hostile encounters, riot gear, paddy wagons at the ready, and arrests—that I’ve seen at #BlackLivesMatter demonstrations or protests in Memphis over the last few years. Local representatives from the #BlackLivesMatter movement were prominent in the Memphis Women’s March and critical in its organization. I suspect that they, too, were disappointed to see the dramatic difference in MPD’s treatment of participants in this protest compared with the treatment of participants in (also nonviolent) #BlackLivesMatter events.

Dr. Leigh M. Johnson

Photo: Leigh Johnson


It was a really cool experience seeing people with a common cause coming together to stand up for what they believe in. It felt like being apart of living history. I was proud to see some of my teachers and peers there, but even more proud that there was such a big turn out nation wide.

Payton Powers (Special Education '17)

Photo: Payton Powers


The Women's March was my first exercise in my right to public assembly and protest. There was a spirit of  inclusion and peace that filled me with excitement the rest of the day!

Tabatha Holmes, (Accounting '20)

Photo: Tabatha Holmes


Posted by Josh Colfer at 3:11 PM

The Galleon is curated and managed by Christian Brothers University, a Memphis-based university founded in the Lasallian tradition (a sect within the Catholic faith). Part of our founding mission is to uphold respect for all persons-regardless of political, religious, or social beliefs. As an institution, we take no stand on political matters; to do so would undermine our commitment to intellectual inquiry and thoughtful response to events taking place in our World by members of the CBU community.

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