The response to the election of Donald Trump to the White House was one of shock, disbelief and concern for many in the nation. For mother and daughter Zenaida Bough, 41, and Tatiana Jenkins, 18, the event prompted a search for their political voices.
“I started thinking about my kids,” Bough said. “What was I going to tell my son? I have a 7-year-old boy. He doesn’t really understand what’s going on but he would see me watching CNN and talking about issues and things and he would ask questions…How [was] I supposed to tell him now that the ‘bad’ person won?”
They are just two of the more than 175,000 women who signed up to attend the Women’s March on Washington on Jan. 21. Bough and Jenkins are students at Lehman College. Jenkins is a freshman. Bough, who works at the school as an assistant director of freshman programs, is a graduate student in the liberal studies program. She received her bachelor’s degree from the school in 2008.
Until the election of Trump to the White House, Bough said, she was usually quiet when it came to expressing her political views, but that is about to change.
“I want Washington to know what I expect, and this is the first step for me,” she said on why she is joining the march. “I’ve actually never done anything like this before.”
“I don’t want to be the quiet one. I want people to know what I expect. That’s what’s important to me. That’s why I want to go. I want to be part of something bigger than myself and I want to have a voice and I want people to hear,” she said.
“It’s not us to just for us, to have Donald Trump hear us. It’s for everybody to hear us. It’s for everybody that he selected, so far, in his Cabinet. It’s for everybody now that is going to be now involved in making decisions for my future, for her [daughter’s] future…I want everyone to know what I want,[for] them all to hear what I want to happen,” she said.
Bough’s parents came to the U.S. from Cuba in the 1960s. She is the first person in her family who was born in this country. She said the march is not about just representing the concerns of women. The day is to speak to the concerns of all minorities who will be affected by the policies of the Trump administration.
Jenkins echoed the sentiment. She said the goal of the Women’s March was not to let Trump know that they preferred Hillary Clinton, but to make him understand how women feel. “I know we can’t do anything to make Hillary our president, but we can do something to make him understand that we expect things from him. And, if we don’t get what we expect then we have to take other approaches,” she said.
“I feel like he sees us as objects and I don’t like that. I would hope that this rally would show that we’re smart and intellectual people, who expect change such as the pay gap and things among that nature,” Jenkins said.
She credited her mother for helping her become more politically aware, encouraging her to get involved and for speaking her mind. “I hope to be like her one day,” Jenkins said.
Initially, Jenkins said, she was not interested in going to the Women’s March. She then thought it would be “a good experience to have,” since she had never attended a rally or a protest, she said.
Although Bough does not “expect a lot” from a Trump administration, she said that she did not want to see the quality of life for her, her daughter and her son “to go into reverse.”
Both women said they were not sure how they will feel after the Women’s March. Bough said she plans to help students at Lehman find their own political voices. “As I was starting to teach, I felt a big responsibility in empowering my students. In order to do that, I had to really become more aware and active myself in order to be able to offer that to them,” she said.
Although it is called the Women’s March on Washington, its Eventbrite webpage says it is open to persons of any gender or gender identity who believe that women’s rights are human rights. The march will start at 10 a.m. at Independence Avenue SW and 3rd Street SW in Washington, D.C.
There will be “sister marches” in support for the event around the country. The closest one to Riverdale is expected to gather at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza in Manhattan.
“One of the things I learned about protests, in general, is that you have to shake things up. You gotta make somebody uncomfortable to make them understand that you’re not happy with the way things are,” Bough said.