Saturday, January 19th: Over 7,000 men, women and children gather at memorial stadium. They all have a common goal, equality of the sexes. We Interviewed two of the four high school girls who put this event together, and they helped us understand how they made this massive event a reality.
The first young woman we interviewed was Sawyer Taylor Arnold. She is a junior at Asheville high, and an avid supporter of women’s rights. When she was asked how she started the planning of the march, she said “I started planning shortly after Thanksgiving with Sarah Kate Head, one of the organizers.” She also said she worked on t-shirt orders, answering emails and taking phone calls.
Organizing such a large public event had some struggles, some of these included lack of funding, getting permits, and finding a space to hold 7,000+ people. In Sawyer’s words, “Because we didn't have the funds to get permits this year, we had to be very strategic about the placement of the march and we had to run things by the city a lot of the time to make sure that they were legal and/or safe”.
The other organizer we interviewed was Sarah Kate head, a sophomore at Asheville High School. When we asked her about who some big supporters were in Asheville, she said “Our mentor throughout the process was Marie L. Germain, who organized the very successful Women's March on Asheville in 2017. She was most definitely our biggest supporter throughout the organization of the march; always being there when we faced any issues or had any questions. She is a big influence to me and the girls, and motivated us as we went along. We are very grateful to have had her by our side, especially due to the fact that she was busy taking over the march in Philly.” We also asked her how they were able to get speakers to talk at the Women's March, and she responded with “When we were thinking about who we wanted to speak at the march, we first had to think about what we wanted them to say and who would fit best for it. We have so many amazing women in office around us and the girls and I are so inspired by them. Honestly, we started to shoot out emails here and there, and we were so lucky to have found those who we did to speak at the march. We wanted inspiring women; women who would have a strong voice to speak up about the goals of the march and the goals of the movement in general!”.
This march was an overwhelming success, and could not have been possible without the strength, charisma, and determination of these young ladies. They proved that anything is possible when you put your mind to it, which is such a valuable lesson for girls all around the world. When we asked Sarah Kate for any advice she may have to other girls who were looking to make a change in the world she said “The biggest advice I can give young women is to not be afraid; to not back down under the pressure that society build on top of our shoulders. Speak up! Talk to people about it, look around for clubs or organizations where you can feel comfortable and open. I think that every young women has the capability of moving people's minds and hearts, but the first thing one has to do is shed the anxiety, insecurity, or fear that has been layering and replace it with confidence, with courage, and with a voice.” Sawyer had some great advice for young girls as well, she said “Some of the best advice I've ever gotten was from my dad, who told me that if you don't feel uncomfortable, it means your not growing. That doesn't mean you have to feel uncomfortable all the time, but push yourself to do things you haven't done before and don't be afraid of the unknown!” Both of these quotes had a common theme, working through the unknown always pays off. These ladies did an amazing job taking their own advice and planning the Women’s March on Asheville!
Story by Alana Kendrick and Ginger Hanlon