Carmen and Suzanne Kirschling

Washington women’s march also a personal statement

Eva James prepares for the Women’s March on Washington.

Eva James may well have needed the march in Washington to prove her mother Carmen Kirschling was right.

“I always believed women were the strength of a nation,” Kirschling said. “That’s how I was raised, and how I tried to raise my daughter.”

James, 34, said she was devastated when she learned that Donald Trump was elected U.S. president.

“I started hearing what Donald Trump was saying about women and then I heard that other people were starting to accept what he said as the truth,” James said. “I didn’t want that for women, especially the younger girls who don’t know who they are just yet.”

That’s why James and her mother joined hundreds of thousands of people marching through Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21. Remarkably, Kirschling joined her daughter at the last moment.

Throughout the day James and her mother marched side-by-side with women and men from all over the U.S. and Canada. According to a Canadian women’s march delegation, nearly 400 people travelled from eastern Canada to participate. The delegation chartered buses in cities such as Montreal, Windsor, Ottawa and Toronto to travel to Washington. Through the Washington mall, James and her mother walked and received heart-felt thanks for their presence.

“My favourite part of the march had to be when a woman came up to me with tears in her eyes and told us how beautiful the sight was to her,” James said.

For Eva James the trip to Washington stirred more than her concern over an incoming president. It reminded her of an incident, 16 years ago at a night club in Toronto. James explained that she felt helpless because a man she met acted as if he were entitled to a dance, and threw his arms around her.

“I saw in that moment how men believed they were superior to women,” James said, believing men had little respect for women and did not treat them equally. And that, she said, was another reason she decided to participate in the Women’s March on Washington — to help women understand their value.

Home from the Washington demonstrations on Jan. 22, Eva James said she felt more empowered as a woman.

“Now, I believe it is time to really get to work to make sure our voices are heard as individuals and as a universal front,” she said.