“This is a crucial time in American politics to come together and stand up for marginalized groups and communities. To recognize each other’s need for support whether it’s women, people of color, minorities, LGBTQ, etc. The Trump presidency became something where all of us were suddenly targeted, but it’s been a great opportunity to come together.”
These words were spoken by Liv Stutz, one of the many mothers who turned up to attend Saturday’s March for Women and Social Justice in downtown Atlanta. Sporting one of the bright pink, cat-eared hats worn by many in the crowd, Stutz spent her time at the march with her two younger daughters and their friend.
Stutz was one of many women who attended not with their husbands or friends, but with their daughters. As people flooded the streets across from the Center for Civil and Human Rights, at the corner of Centennial Olympic Park, an overwhelming number of mother-daughter groups became apparent. Senior-aged women carried signs and chanted with their teenage daughters, while an equal number of younger mothers held the hands of their tiny toddlers. Even some of the posters people held while they marched related back to family, with statements such as “build a better world for our daughters” and “raging feminist mom” written in bold letters.
“It’s a way to ensure that the values we stand for don’t get left behind generation to generation,” said Stutz. “Mothers don’t want their daughters to grow up feeling lesser than or weak, and that’s why I brought them here.”
Stutz’s 13-year old daughter, Siri, spoke up as well, voicing her desire for change and resistance. “I want to do more like this, I think,” she said, looking to her mom. “This is the first thing like this I’ve gone out to, but it’s been really nice so far. We’ve just been walking down the streets with all these other people who believe in the same things and want the same future. It’s felt good being here.”
This social justice gathering was not the first for other moms and daughters present. “We went all the way over to Standing Rock a few months ago, so I knew a little bit of what this would be like,” said 13-year-old Hailey Lee, who attended the event with her mom, Amy, her friends, Caitlyn and Sarah, and her younger sister, Meira. “I don’t want to live in a terrible country. My mom and I wanted to come to this, and then we asked Caitlyn and Sarah to come with us.”
Holding a “Respect Women” poster by her side, Amy Lee said,“We just started going to these kinds of events this year. Before, we just did things that were more local. It’s important for all of them — younger girls — to be aware of what’s going on and how they can make a change. It’s not good to just sit idle. I think we’re all realizing that.”
Georgia Langley, an 11-year-old from Decatur, was especially vocal in her support for the march. She and her mother, Cindy, were one of many families to stand cheering and waving signs along a hill next to the Center. As participants gathered, the Langleys offered free stickers reading “love is love” to those who passed by and spoke of their desire to have their voices amplified.
“We need to show what we believe, and if we don’t get our voices out there then we won’t be heard,” said Georgia, eagerly jumping in front of her mother. “We heard about this happening in Washington, and then mom told me it’s happening all over the country — all over the world. I said ‘mom we have to go do that,’ so here we are.”
“Trump is not a legitimate president, and it was right for us to show up and say so,” Cindy Langley added. “It’s something Georgia’s been very passionate about, and I don’t want her to feel limited or like she can’t be a part of what’s going on. This is history in the making.”
There were even some mother-daughter groups at the March that extended several generations. Shana Tabak, a mother of two, showed up with her 2-year old daughter, Layla, on her back and her mother, Barbara, alongside her. The three of them stood by the curb at the starting line of the march, taking pictures and holding up cardboard signs.
“I can’t believe we’re still fighting for women’s rights,” Barbara Tabak said, shaking her head. “I was in the newspaper business when the Equal Rights Amendment was proposed, and it’s just ridiculous. We’re still trying to achieve the same goals we were aiming for back then.”
On the importance of mother-daughter relationships, she said: “I’m so proud of Shana, because this is something I wish I had done for her. I wish I had brought her to things like this and just shown her what resistance is. Layla’s getting this whole education, and she doesn’t even realize it yet.”
“Women have been voting since 1920,” Shana added. “It’s kind of shocking that we’re still having to talk about women’s rights, but we’ll keep talking about them as long as we need to. Layla shouldn’t have to deal with what’s being said today when she gets older. What our president says, it’s unacceptable.”
The Atlanta March for Social Justice & Women was not just about resistance, but inspiring the next generation to make a difference. Women of all ages brought their daughters out to educate and inspire them so as to build a better tomorrow. Marches and protests may not usually be associated with family, but on Saturday, it seemed clear that the mother-daughter connection of many participants was strengthened, fitting the march’s message of female empowerment and non-complacency as mothers and daughters marched together.
Holyn, 16, goes to DeKalb School of the Arts and spends her days reading, watching documentaries and drinking too much coffee.