By Yaasmeen Piper
“After the election I remember my mom called me crying,” recalled Ashley Tucker, the graduate assistant for the Women’s Center.
“She said, ‘I don’t know what’s going to happen with health care or the future.’ I’m still in school, I haven’t graduated yet, and I didn’t know what was going to happen. I’m majoring in Public Health so my future careers are at stake. My mom was like ‘we have to do something.’”
With the help of Student Life Director Cornelia Sewell-Allen, and her mother Elaine Tucker, Ashley created Modern Day Activism: Why We Marched.
“It all happened in Washington, but the whole point is to bring it back to your local area. So, I think be doing it on campus—this campus is so ready and willing to do anything so I think that throwing a program out like this was a good thing,” said Tucker.
The five featured speakers were: Elaine Tucker, Ashley’s mother whom she considers her role model and refered to as the strongest woman she knew; Claudette Williams; Dr. Shannon Frystak; Megan Reinert and Dr. Storm Heter, shared their experiences marching that January day.
“Before, I never met Dr. Frystak, Claudette Williams or student Megan Reinert. Cornelia actually got in touch with them and asked them to do the program. But as soon as I met them I know it was going to be a good panel. Everyone was so nice and wanted to know your stories. I honestly think that all of them did a phenomenal job,” said Tucker.
As well as Tucker and her mother, Williams and Reinert all attended the Washington march. Dr Strom Heter took the New York street, and Dr. Frystak was close to home in Bethlehem.
“Dr. Frystak stood out to me. She had great answers and expertise in women’s marches since she’s been to like 3 or 4.” Beaming, Tucker recalled her experience at the Women’s March. Even though the day started less then glamorous considering they had a 5 a.m. bus ticket, it didn’t seem to faze her,” she continued.
“It took us six or seven hours to get to DC. I remember being on the bus and the speeches had already started. Luckily, one of the women in the back of the bus was live streaming it on her phone through a little speaker because everyone was like ‘we’re stuck in traffic but we still want to be a part of it,’” she added.
“It was like a mile and a half track to get to the march. But it was really cool because as soon as you got off the bus we were in a parking lot full of other buses. All these women, mothers, daughters, a lot of men, whoever, was marching to the capital. It was the most peaceful rally I ever experienced. I was so into the day; I wanted to take pictures and remember it but be in the moment at the same time. You just felt like you were making a part of history while you were there.”
Since the Women’s March, Tucker has seen a change on the ESU campus. Students and staff were motivated to keep advocating for women’s right.
“A lot of people had stories of going to the women’s march, and people were talking about it, especially in [the Women’s Center]. Cornelia Sewell-Allen, and I were like: we should do this do just keep that ball rolling. It just keeps the advocacy piece of women fighting for a cause in the mix,” she continued.
As for the next four years, she hopes more people bring attention to ESU’s Women’s Center.
“Not a lot of people know this is a thing on campus. I would like to see more groups, like the Feminist Alliance, working with the women’s center and trying to create more programs. The Modern Day Activism program, I would like to do a follow up to that. We have the March for Science coming up and I would love to do a program about that but I won’t be in school at that point,” Tucker said.
When asked if she had any other points she wanted to highlight, nearly jumping out her seat Tucker said, “I thought it was a really great program! I hope that it continues and we keep advocacy on our campus!”
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