The Conspiracy

Why We Marched on Washington as Reform Jews

We attend university in Columbus, Ohio, but watching the anticipation for the Women’s March build in our nation’s capital, we knew that this was not a moment in history when we could stand aside and simply watch. Our generation of college students are going to come of age in this era of renewed divisiveness. Soon we will enter the workforce, become leaders in our communities, and eventually make the policy decisions that guide our country. Because of this, it felt more important than ever to make the trek to Washington, D.C. to join our voices with the rest of the world.

The morning of the March, there was a different feel in Washington than there had been the day before. Pink hats in tow, thousands descended on Washington to be a part of this historic occasion. Before joining those who would march that day, we began our morning with the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. The Reform Movement has a long history of involvement in social justice work. The lessons we had learned through religious school, youth group, and our rabbis were coming to life. The pride we’ve always had in our religion swelled that day as the Reform Movement showed up for the Women’s March.

Soon after, we joined the large crowd that had amassed outside of the Capitol. People from all corners of the country, of all religions, sexualities, races, and gender identities came together. There were environmental activists marching next to gun violence prevention activists. Though there was plenty of anger at the present situation, marchers channeled their passion into positive action.

Throughout the march, we carried the Reform Movement’s signs which read, “Do Justice. Love Mercy. March Proudly,” and though we’ve heard that rhetoric from the Jewish community for most of our lives, on January 21, it was true more than ever. On that day, our movement and its activism once again made us proud.

The work needed is far from over, but the Women’s March launched a movement. This movement told the leaders of the world that we will not stand idly by as injustice occurs. During a time when our country feels more divided than ever, being surrounded by hundreds of thousands of unified people was a privilege, and as college students, Jews, and Americans, we’re so proud to have been a part of that momentous day.

Taylor Gleeson and Jeremy Cronig are students at Ohio State University.

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