By Amiyah King, Howard University News Service
Washington DC– As thousands of people marched to Freedom Plaza last weekend for the third annual Women’s March, among the crowd was an army of dedicated mothers who took this opportunity to introduce their children to the politics of America.
The worldwide protest began in 2017 as a response to the inauguration of President Donald Trump to resist the perceived threat against women and marginalized groups that his presidency represented. Two years later, demonstrators lined the gates of the White House with picket signs that advocate for immigrant families, underpaid women, unpaid government employees and social issues outside the realm of womanism.
Ileann Jimenez-Sepulveda joined her three kids this past Saturday to march for an issue that was more close to home. Her 16-year-old son recently traveled to Washington, D.C. from his home in Chile for an opportunity to learn English and be fully submerged in American culture.
Vincente Sepulveda arrived in the states just four days after the government shutdown. His plans of visiting museums and studying the culture have quickly come to fade as the government entered its 29th day of a partial shutdown.
“They have to know that we are watching,” Jimenez-Sepulveda said as her family toted signs written, “No more families torn apart,” and “Don’t pretend you don’t see us.”
Her 15-year-old daughter, Sofia Sepulveda shared her views on the current political climate and why attending the march was so important to her. “I’m here because I’m outraged by the actions of 45 [Pres. Donald Trump],” she said, “with the dehumanization of my people and other communities of minorities.”
The Sepulveda family is one of many who feels threatened by President Trump’s order to build a wall at the Mexican border to prevent illegal immigration.
The United States Department of Health and Human Services reported that approximately 2,737 children were separated from their families under the president’s policy. Just days before the march, the federal government admitted to miscalculating those numbers and revealed that even more families had been separated than reported.
As the Sepulveda family marched to be seen, others felt as if their voices were not being heard.
Jan McLaughlin, from Bowling Green, Ohio said she came to the march with her family to support in solidarity, which she believes is the first step in standing up.
“I don’t think [President Trump] is listening,” McLaughlin said, “but it’s important for me to be here and make a presence.”
Her daughter, Anna Walden seems to be following her mother’s footsteps in advocacy.
“When I look back, I want to know I stood up for what I believe in,” Walden said, “and I’m on the right side of history.”
Leslie Copeland-Tune has been sure to include herself and kids on the same side of history as Walden. She first visited the 2017 Women’s March with her son and now stands this year with her 20-year-old daughter, Victoria Tune.
The mother reflected on her own childhood and said she was “brought up in a struggle that was only met with resistance.” This struggle is what she said drives her to “deposit seeds of resistance” into her kids, through activism.