5 campus leaders share Women's March memories, offer advice to peers

GLAAD Campus Ambassadors helped make history over the weekend when they participated in the Women’s March on Washington and various Sister Marches across the country, which made up the nation’s largest demonstration to date. Together, these Campus Ambassadors set an example for inclusive and intersectional advocacy by continuing to take action on and off campus.

Learn more about their experiences at the March and read their advice to young people who want to take further action:

Kali Villarosa – Skidmore College

Attended the Women’s March in Washington, D.C.

"The March on Sunday stood as one of the largest political gatherings, and took place both domestically in the U.S. and internationally. I marched in Washington D.C., a protest which attracted upward of half a million people. Marching with my two lesbians mothers, aunt, cousin, brother and a few friends, our group of queer, predominantly Black women, fit in well among the diverse array of individuals that the march attracted.

As represented by the group I walked with, the reason I marched was to portray the intersections of inequality, within race, gender, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status, and push back on Trump's blatant devaluation and disregard for our already marginalized bodies. I walked for all Women, for Black lives, undocumented lives, Muslim lives, LGBTQ lives, for the recognition of all marginalized communities, and the intersections in and between them all. I marched to raise my voice, to portray communal power, and the love and unity that still persists among both the American and international citizenry.

At this polarized time, youth power and participation is inherent to the fight. All young people of all identities, especially allies, must be willing to step forward and voice their resistance. Take to the streets, but also educate yourself on the Trump Administration’s policies and how they will affect the people around you. Join organizations that work to help marginalized people, write to your government officials and inform those around you. Don't let injustice prevail. There is love, we have power, and we must come together as we are stronger as one."

Monique Swirsky – Elon University

Attended the Women’s March in Washington, D.C.

"Being in D.C. for the Women’s March was one of the most exciting days of my life. Early Saturday morning 6 of my friends who had travelled to D.C. with me from Elon University, my very anxious mother, and I piled into an already overcrowded metro train. We had not even arrived to the march yet, but being in this tightly packed metro train with like-minded, kind faces, many of whom were donning pink knit hats, already made me feel empowered. It was so amazing to be part of something so much bigger than myself. 

Throughout the day, I listened to amazing speakers, cried tears of happiness, and embraced strangers in the largest crowd I have ever seen in my life. As we trudged our way down Constitution Avenue towards the Washington Monument, I really felt like this was just day one of what would be an ongoing revolution. As I looked out over the sea of pink hats, I felt energized for all the work we have to do.

As we move forward organizing and resisting, we must remember the importance of intersectionality. I recognize I hold extraordinary privilege to attend this march, as a white cisgender woman, who also experiences different levels of privilege that go beyond my gender and skin color. 

To all of the people I met this past Saturday, to every single person who marched, to every one that couldn't but was there in spirit, I hope to see you more as we march into the future together. I hope to see you in movements and at marches supporting LGBTQ people, People of Color, undocumented immigrants, Muslims, Indigenous people, and more groups that are in need of support--whether you are yourself part of those communities or simply see that all people deserve to live with equity and equality. 

I hope that everyone who marched feels as empowered as I do by the Women’s March and are able to use that energy to carry you forward, because we are in this for the long haul and we need to be in this together. Call your representative – local and national, join your local NAACP, go to marches and rallies, run for office, meet someone new in your community or outside of it, and open up your heart and mind to them. We all must continue to stand up for justice and equity for all people."


C Mandler – Bard College

Attended the Women’s March in New York City, NY

"I marched in my birthplace of New York City in solidarity with millions of folks worldwide to express my discontent at my government, my country’s electoral process, and the continued bigotry and hatred plaguing the place I call home. As a white, upper-class person, I am afforded a significant amount of privilege that makes navigating the world much easier for me than most folks. This is why it is so important for me and others like me to be vocal agents of change during this time in history.

The next four years are going to make already oppressed groups even more vulnerable. This is why any and all support that one is able give to others in such a polarizing and, frankly, terrifying current socioeconomic and political climate is so crucial.

Remember that love and care are revolutionary acts. Lying prostrate for people as an open heart or a shoulder to lean on can make such a positive difference in amazing and unexpected ways in other people's lives. Start at home by educating those close to you on eminent issues affecting susceptible populations. Check in with your undocumented friends to make sure they know that they are supported and loved. Accompany your trans peers to the bathroom if they want your support and protection and stand up for them if they are the recipient of unwelcome remarks or snide glances.

Finally, do not forget to give this love and care to your own self. Activism is emotionally draining and recuperation is necessary in avoiding burnout, but take into consideration that not everybody has the privilege to stop fighting for a day to rest.

We can stand together and support one another to effect some much-needed change in this country and beyond because, even when you do not feel like it, you are glorious in each part of who you are and nobody—not even Donald Trump—has enough power to truly take away your intrinsic sense of self. Do your best to never forget who you are, why you fight, and why it is our duty to win."


Joon Park – Boston College

Attended the Women’s March in Boston, MA

"On January 21, 2017, I walked in the Boston Women’s March for America in solidarity with the communities most affected by the changing political and social rifts in the nation. I marched with my friend, who wore a political shirt that read “No place for Homophobia, Fascism, Sexism, Racism, Hate.” I wore a Black Lives Matter shirt as a political statement to remind fellow attendees that our struggles are not siloed and that feminism without intersectionality can represent and perpetuate racism and white supremacy.

Throughout the march, I was juggling a multifaceted set of emotions. It was an eerie experience, being physically present for the march. The last time I had been on the Boston Common with a sizable crowd was for Boston Pride 2016, which had a much more celebratory atmosphere. On one hand, I felt a communal sense of solidarity and strength while participating in the march, but on the same vein, I could not ignore the communal sense of hurt, pain, and angst. I simultaneously felt angered and empowered.

For young people who want to stay involved, I encourage them to fully understand and integrate the importance of intersectionality. Hierarchies and oppressions in society are interrelated and our liberation as individual people does not come until we are all liberated."


Patrick Koslecki – Caldwell University

Attended the Women’s March in New York City, NY

"The uninhibited promotion of equality, solidarity, and the belief that love will always trump hate led me to the Women's March in New York City. I marched along with my best friend, as well as a new friend and ally who approached us on the subway and had flown in from Nebraska for the historic movement. Together, the three of us made our way into the already packed streets of Midtown East.

We all marched for different reasons; we all marched for the same reasons: to call attention to the oppression of women, threat to women's rights, and the potential defunding of Planned Parenthood, but, overarchingly, to make our voices heard, and to show that we will not be silenced. I marched for women of all races, religions, gender identities, and sexual orientations, but I also knew I was marching to show President Trump the LGBTQ community will not be hindered. In essence, I marched to spread more love.

For those advocates who are fired up and who go high when others go low, I say this: Stay involved in your community. It does not take 2.9 million people to garner attention. Talk to your school, your neighbors, and your community leaders and begin outreach within your own sphere of influence. Grassroots initiatives, hard work, and diligence can change minds and hearts in every community."


GLAAD Campus Ambassadors - in their inaugural year - are a volunteer network of LGBTQ and ally college and university students that work with GLAAD and within their local communities to build an LGBTQ movement to accelerate acceptance and end hate and discrimination. If you would like to learn more about the GLAAD Campus Ambassador Program, please contact Clare Kenny— GLAAD Youth Engagement Strategist.