Protests are a fundamental right in America. We, according to the First Amendment, have a right to peaceful assembly — a right to be heard.

The Women’s March on Washington, or rather march across the country and across the world, was the biggest protest in history with an estimated 4.8 million global participants.

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This movement was not an anti-President Donald Trump protest, nor was it aimed to change the fact he was voted into office. Rather, the march was a unification of men and women standing up for the rights and values they believe in and to show that the hate emanating from this man and some of his followers is not what defines America.

The official website of the march states these individuals marched “for the protection of [their] rights, [their] safety, [their] health and [their] families — recognizing that [their] vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of [their] country.”

So, to address the bitter posts on social media or the sour conservative news anchors (cough, cough, Tomi Lahren) who want the liberals to “stop whining” and accept that Trump is their president: These marchers are not ignorant, as their cause is so much more than that.

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They are stronger together, and they have more than enough authority to express what they believe in and refuse to be silenced.

Though it seems that men in power get to make all the decisions of what a woman can or cannot do with her body, these protesters fight for a voice in these decisions.

While Trump continues to pursue his plans for the ridiculous wall, these protesters fight for an America that accepts all people.

The protesters show that though our country must accept him as president, we do not have to accept his values as our own.

He may be the elected representative of our nation, but he does not accurately represent our nation.

Let’s remember the fact that the Women’s March was a peaceful protest. In fact, from the 673 events across the globe, there wasn’t a single arrest.

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These protests were peaceful and nonviolent, as upheld by the official website’s guiding principles which were specifically enumerated to prevent any violence. When a small group of individuals becomes radical, it does not mean the entire group becomes radical.

Over-generalizations lead to misinformation and ignorance. Just as not all Trump supporters committed hate crimes post-election, one small group of violent protesters during the Trump inauguration does not represent the 4.8 million peaceful protesters who came out just one day later. 

The fact that the Women’s March on Washington became a worldwide movement shows how important this cause is.

The roughly one half of Americans who didn’t vote for him are not the only ones concerned about the Trump presidency. Large masses of people in major cities on every continent are concerned too.

The worldwide protests sparked for a number of reasons, according to the Washington Post: from France saying America’s situation parallels their current political situation to the co-founder of Sydney’s march saying America’s issues are theirs because “misogyny and bigotry are global issues.”

Even Russia, whose political leaders seem more than ecstatic about the Trump victory, saw a modest march. A Russian woman posted a picture of their Women’s March shirts captioned “Can’t march in Russia without special permission, so there was just a short international stroll of support” on the Pantsuit Nation Facebook page.

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This shows just how privileged we are in America to have the ability to freely express our opinions and peacefully assemble to create a movement.

All in all, the Women’s March on Washington was a much-needed unification of women and men across our divided country and across the world.

We, as Americans, have the right to protest. So, Donald Trump and salty supporters, as one of my favorite signs I saw on Saturday said “You’re so vain, you probably think this march is about you” — just remember, it was and still is so much more than that.

Claudia Koechell ([email protected]) is a freshman majoring in history and political science.