March for Science raises awareness amid current political climate

The rain might have been an inconvenience, but that did not stop tens of thousands of protesters from converging at Central Park West on Saturday afternoon to participate in the March for Science.Organized on Earth Day, April 22, in over 600 locations around the world, these global marches aimed to protest U.S. President Donald Trump’s approach to science, including his job picks for top regulatory posts and proposed funding cuts to research and enforcement.

Jill Dvornik, a senior associate researcher of pharmacological sciences at Mount Sinai Hospital and a co-organizer of the march, said that impending federal budget cuts threaten several important initiatives. Advances in biomedical studies and technological devices could be affected.

“In general, more people are accepting of science,” Dvornik said. “This is a nonpartisan issue.” In keeping with the theme of inclusivity that the rally aims for, any person that could not attend any of the marches could follow along with the Washington D.C. march via a livestream posted to the march’s official website.

The New York City march started at 10:30 a.m. at the corner of Central Park West and 72nd Street. After an hour-long rally, the crowd started marching down the street. Taking up big chunks of Central Park West and Broadway, the crowd marched down all the way toward 45th Street and Broadway. Along the way, the march passed by the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Columbus Circle.

As with the Women’s Day March and the Tax Day March, the protesters had creative ways of voicing their opinions during the march. Mutale Nkonde, another co-organizer and a volunteer at Black Girls Code, said the organizers wanted the New York City version of the event to stand out from other cities’. As a result, they treated the march like a parade by incorporating banners, floats, puppets and other artistic representations throughout the day.

“This taps into people’s psychological need for a good time and feeling safe in the city,” Nkonde added.

A few of the signs that protesters had featured slogans like "There Is No Planet B" and “The Oceans Are Rising. And So Are We.” Others featured quotes from scientists Stephen Hawking and Neil deGrasse Tyson. Others borrowed from works of fiction such as Dr. Seuss’ “The Lorax,” along with the TV series “Futurama” and “Rick and Morty.”

There were a handful of protesters who came to the event dressed up in a wide array of outfits. Most came in a standard white lab coat, while others retained the knitted pink caps from the Women’s March. But some took it a step further to spread their ideas.

One group of people in particular, to send the message of why animal protection is important, dressed up as unicorns while holding a sign that said “Save the Endangered Species before They Become Mythical Creatures.” Humorously, there were even a couple of protesters dressed as T-Rexes, pointing out that Trump’s ignorance toward climate change and the potential effects it could bring is akin to dinosaurs being oblivious to the meteor that wiped them out.

The protesters were not limited to science, technology, engineering and mathematics field employers, science majors and the overall college student population.

Throughout the protest, many people brought their children to participate in the event, on the grounds of trying to save science programs for future generations so that they can get involved in the field. There were even a few protesters who brought their pets along. One such pet was Schmitty the Weather Dog, a Yorkshire Terrier who became the centerpiece of a line of greeting cards called New Yorkie Greetings, aimed at raising money for families affected by events like Hurricane Katrina and 9/11.

While there are sure to be more protests of this caliber throughout Trump’s presidency, the March for Science brought people together to voice their concerns about what possible harm the administration could do for science and the environment as well.