My reason: ‘All people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect’

Actually, I wasn’t going to march. I hadn’t heard much about it and frankly, I was quite busy and didn’t really have the time. But a few days before the march, a friend announced she was going and invited me to join her. I was going to politely decline; I was busy, right?

But then I thought about the marches I attended in DC when I was a grad student several decades ago. Back then it was important for me to be counted, to be heard. Had I really changed that much in 20 years? Then I thought about the women who had marched before me. Who fought for the freedoms and protections I have known my whole life. And then I thought about my seven-year-old daughter and the kind of life I wanted for her. The urgent things on my to-do list didn’t seem quite so urgent anymore. Being a good role model for my daughter, respecting the legacy of those who came before me, and making my voice heard became the priority for that Saturday afternoon.

I didn’t make a sign for the march. I’m not very clever and to be honest, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to say. Being there, with 5,000 other women, men, and children, walking from the UNL campus to the state Capitol, I had the opportunity to reflect on the signs others had made and I realized at the march, why I marched.

I marched because I believe that all people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. They deserve a quality education taught by talented, passionate teachers who will help them reach their fullest potential. They deserve to have a say over what happens to their bodies, to worship in their own way, and to be treated fairly. That those who are vulnerable deserve to be protected and not exploited. That people deserve to love and be loved without condition. These are not luxuries for only a select few in our society, but necessities for all people regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, immigration status, religion, sexual orientation, age, disability, and yes, gender. These are the truths I hold to be self-evident, and the fact they are not self-evident to everyone is why I marched.