Kathryn Michaelis oral history interview, 2017-06-30

Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library
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00:00:00 - Introductions and background

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Partial Transcript: MORNA GERRARD: My name is Morna Gerrard and I am interviewing Kathryn Michaelis for Georgia State University's Women's March Oral History Project.

Segment Synopsis: Kathryn Michaelis talks about the various places she has lived, her own and her family's political views and past political activities, including her previous job working for the campaign of the former South Carolina State Treasurer.

Subjects: Families; Political and social views; Political campaigns; Political participation

00:08:13 - Michaelis's reasons for marching

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Partial Transcript: MORNA GERRARD: Why did you decide to march on January 21st?

Segment Synopsis: Michaelis discusses being motivated to march because of her extreme disapproval of Donald Trump and what his election represents.

Subjects: Atlanta March for Social Justice and Women (2017); Trump, Donald, 1946-

00:10:52 - Election night 2016, husband's reaction

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Partial Transcript: MORNA GERRARD: Before we talk about the march, can we go back to November, and can you talk about how the election night unfolded for you?

Segment Synopsis: Michaelis talks about her reaction to the unfolding results on the night of the 2016 presidential election. She discusses her husband's political views.

Subjects: Political and social views; Presidents--Election; Trump, Donald, 1946-

00:14:09 - Getting to the march

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Partial Transcript: MORNA GERRARD: Let's talk about the day of the march itself.

Segment Synopsis: Michaelis talks about trying to take MARTA to downtown Atlanta for the march and giving up because of the huge crowd at the station.

Subjects: Atlanta March for Social Justice and Women (2017); Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority

00:15:57 - Signs, pussy hats

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Partial Transcript: MORNA GERRARD: Did you take signs with you?

Segment Synopsis: Michaelis describes the signs she and her husband carried and talks about the symbolism of pussy hats.

Keywords: Protest signs; Pussy hats

Subjects: Atlanta March for Social Justice and Women (2017); Protest movements; Women's March on Washington (2017)

00:19:28 - Expectations for the march, issues most important to Michaelis

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Partial Transcript: MORNA GERRARD: Before the march took place, like leading up to it, the few days leading up to it, what were you expecting to get out of it?

Segment Synopsis: Michaelis describes not being sure what the expect from the march and hoping for catharsis. She discusses the issues that she cares about most intensely.

Subjects: Atlanta March for Social Justice and Women (2017); Refugees; Reproductive rights

00:22:23 - Arriving at the march, other people's signs

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Partial Transcript: MORNA GERRARD: When you -- well let's, we'll come back to this. So you got an Uber to the march.

Segment Synopsis: Michaelis talks about arriving at the march in a downpour and seeing the enormous crowd. She describes various signs she saw at the march.

Keywords: Protest signs

Subjects: Atlanta March for Social Justice and Women (2017)

00:25:26 - Makeup of the crowd at the Atlanta march, speakers

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Partial Transcript: MORNA GERRARD: And well let's talk about that. I'm assuming most of the people there were women, but talk about like the kinds of people that you were seeing.

Segment Synopsis: Michaelis describes the gender and racial composition of the crowd at the march. She describes hearing the people who spoke before the march.

Keywords: Diversity; March speakers

Subjects: Atlanta March for Social Justice and Women (2017); Lewis, John, 1940 February 21-

00:29:48 - Chants, police presence, counter-protester

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Partial Transcript: MORNA GERRARD: So let's talk about chants. Were you comfortable chanting?

Segment Synopsis: Michaelis describes several chants from the march and talks about the relatively relaxed police presence.

Keywords: Chants; Counter-protesters; Police presence

Subjects: Atlanta March for Social Justice and Women (2017); Law enforcement

00:32:33 - Emotional response to the march

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Partial Transcript: MORNA GERRARD: How did you -- did you get emotional at any time?

Segment Synopsis: Michaelis describes the march as cathartic, and talks about her negative mindset before the march happened.

Subjects: Atlanta March for Social Justice and Women (2017); Catharsis

00:33:53 - Enormity of the protest movement, end of the march

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Partial Transcript: MORNA GERRARD: Were you aware at all throughout the day of like the numbers that were marching in other cities all across -- not just the United States but throughout the world?

Segment Synopsis: Michaelis describes learning about the extent of the marches around the world. She also talks about the end of the march and getting home.

Keywords: Local marches; News media

Subjects: Local transit; Press; Protest movements

00:37:49 - Standout moments from the march, reading about marches in the media

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Partial Transcript: MORNA GERRARD: Were there any parts of the day that just like stuck out, like that you still think back to?

Segment Synopsis: Michaelis talks about memorable moments from the march. She also describes reading about the Atlanta march and Washington, D.C. marches in various media outlets.

Keywords: Local marches; News media

Subjects: Atlanta March for Social Justice and Women (2017); Crowds; Press

00:42:23 - Responses from Michaelis's family, feelings since the march

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Partial Transcript: MORNA GERRARD: You went back to work on the Monday.

Segment Synopsis: Michaelis talks about the positive reactions of her family to her and her husband's marching. she discusses her negative feelings about the Trump administration's activities since the march ended.

Subjects: Atlanta March for Social Justice and Women (2017); Families; Feminism; Trump, Donald, 1946-

00:47:53 - Michaelis's activities since the march, maintaining momentum, news media

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Partial Transcript: MORNA GERRARD: Have you protested anything since you got back from the march?

Segment Synopsis: Michaelis talks about the things she has done since the march to support the march's goals. She discusses her opinion of the anti-Trump movement's ability to maintain momentum and talks about news coverage of the Trump administration.

Keywords: Indivisible; News media

Subjects: Nonprofit organizations; Political participation; Press; Protest movements

00:54:00 - Divisiveness of American politics

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Partial Transcript: MORNA GERRARD: We're in a sort of in a situation right now where there's such a divide between basically Democrats and Republicans.

Segment Synopsis: Michaelis discusses her opinion of how politicians can help ease the divisiveness that has taken over American politics.

Subjects: Democratic Party (U.S.); Republican Party (U.S. : 1854- ); Social media

00:58:12 - Strategies for staying grounded, best and worst case scenarios

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Partial Transcript: MORNA GERRARD: What do you -- what do you suggest, you know, we have a ways to go.

Segment Synopsis: Michaelis expresses her opinion that making connections is the antidote to despair and depression. She describes what she sees as the best-case and worst case scenarios for the remainder of the Trump administration.

Keywords: Self-care

Subjects: Belonging (Social psychology); Trump, Donald, 1946-; Voluntarism

01:04:21 - Advice to would-be marchers, interview wrap-up

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Partial Transcript: MORNA GERRARD: There will be -- there will be marches in the future.

Segment Synopsis: Michaelis offers advice to people who are interested in attending big marches, and Gerrard wraps up the interview.

Subjects: Political participation