I am a Proud American.

I was not able to march, but I wanted to march. First and foremost, I believe citizen engagement is important to our governmental process. I am saddened by the division in our country and hate the way partisan politics seems to make compromise so difficult. I believe in social justice. I believe our country is strong when we are inclusive. I believe in the empowerment of women and the objectifying comments made by our president sicken me. As a victim of gun violence, I am for reasonable gun control. I believe words matter; the current president’s use of language scares me. His words are divisive, dismissive, and not very deep. I am for life from conception to natural death and for social programs that help people in desperate situations. I want all people to feel safe. The current administration makes me feel less safe. I am paying attention and will stay engaged. I am a proud American.

I Marched Because Washington Doesn’t Represent Me.

For me the march was about my children.  I have 21-year-old twins, a daughter and son.  They are both at UNL.  My daughter is an Ag Ed major and my son is an El Ed major. My husband and I farm and have outside jobs in the ag field.  We believe that none of you have our best interest at heart.  Betsey DeVos is the absolute WORST thing for both students and teachers in public education, yet you all support her.  President Trump is signing EO’s so fast his head is spinning.  NAFTA and TPP were GOOD for Nebraska Ag, but none of our state leaders had the spine to fight for them.  At the same time, our state is short of money.  I march because I want my daughter and son to be protected by Title IX.  You don’t.  I march because I believe none of you have MY family’s best interests at heart.  I march because I believe in humanity and that there isn’t a boogie man behind every face.  I march for the lovely Iranian grad student and his wife and child who live across the hall from my children.  They are GOOD people and they worked HARD to get here.  I march because you are all so wrong in how you represent me.

For All Those Who are Marginalized.

My children, grandchildren, and two sisters from Kearney and Guide Rock marched alongside me.  I marched because I want the ACA to continue as a law.  Several years ago, I chose to further my education and pursue my degree in the nursing field. As with most farming households, our health insurance was through my work. We would lose it if I worked part-time, so we shopped around for private health insurance. We found that our options were extremely limited. Because my husband had a pre-existing condition of hypertension, our monthly insurance payment would be even higher than the $900 quotes per month we were receiving. Plus it was explained to us, the insurance would not cover any illness that can even remotely be associated with high blood pressure. A stroke or heart attack would not be covered, even though we would be paying top dollar for insurance $1,200. Basically the insurance companies were cherry-picking their clients. Even the Nebraska health insurance program promoted by the governor was over $1,000 a month AND had the pre-existing Health Clause that would not cover hypertension or its related illnesses. Our one saving grace was the children’s health insurance plan (the plan Hillary Clinton was instrumental in passing). Our three children were put on this plan. We took a chance and went forward with my education, all the while worrying about injuries or health problems that would have changed our lives financially and mentally forever. That concern almost kept me from advancing in my field!

Since 2003 I have been a registered nurse. I have seen countless people whose lives have been touched by illness, many that did not have health insurance. Medical debt is the number one cause of bankruptcy. This, and my own experience drove me to become an application counselor for the ACA. I’ve signed up dozens of people to this insurance market. Many have told me it’s the first time they have had health insurance!

This program works. The misinformation about it, spread by inflammatory rhetoric, has been breathtaking!

Insurance companies and their CEOs aren’t going broke. And working people have access to Affordable Health Care through the ACA. This is only ONE reason out of MANY why I march, and my family and I will continue to march.

I marched for my granddaughters. I marched to feel like I could do something. I marched for human rights too. I marched for all those who are made to feel that they are less.

I Wanted to be Part of the Movement.

I marched because I was feeling so depressed and uncertain of what would happen to our country. I was angry that the Republicans allowed a man like Trump to take over their party and now the country. I listened to my daughter talk about the Women’s March. I wanted to be part of the movement. A friend and I talked about Marches close to us but they were still 3 and 4 hours away. We thought we would at least try to get a few people to march around the local courthouse. 20 people showed up and we felt a great sense of unity.  We are continuing to meet.

I Have a Right to My Own Body.

My health should not be regulated by men. I should have the right to make the best choices for myself with the help of my doctor without repercussions from lawmakers. And Donald Trump is at the very least is a perpetrator of sexual abuse if not an all out rapist. He doesn’t represent me or the women of this country. Too many men get too little punishment for their actions against women, and it’s sickening.

 

I Have More Reasons Than I Can Express.

On Saturday, January 21, 2017, I jumped in my car and drove to Rapid City, South Dakota, to be a part of the Women’s March. This was important to me for more reasons than I can express, but I will try to touch on some of them here.

I marched for my one-year-old daughter. May she grow up in an America that wants to see women succeed. A society that has affordable healthcare, birth control, reproductive rights, paid maternity leave, and equal pay for women. A country that recognizes that people who are LGBTQ+ are equal under the rights provided us by our constitution. All are created equal.

I marched for my three-year-old son. May he get to be a part of that same country. May he be an ally for women and may he, in turn, benefit from that.

May both of my children be caring, empathetic individuals who see injustice in the world and know how to show love for all people, regardless of their background.

I marched for my students. I want them to know that everything I have taught them in class is true. My students are dumbfounded when we discuss slavery. They ask why. They are confused when we talk about the suffragist movement and women fighting for the right to vote. They don’t get it when we discuss the Civil Rights era, and see photographs of people using different water fountains, bathrooms, restaurants, and swimming pools. It doesn’t make any sense to them, because they know the world is better than that. They know that Malala Yousefzai was shot in Pakistan trying to fight for rights of girls to get an education. This also makes no sense to them. Why are there places in the world where girls don’t have the right to an education? I assure them it makes no sense to me either. A couple years ago while watching the news with one of my classes, the anchor started to talk about the pay gap between men and women who were doing the same job. One of my students, a girl, came running up to me to repeat the statistic. She was baffled and I knew I had no good answer to provide her. I teach them they are equal and they can do anything they want to do, but when they hear that may not be true, they simply cannot understand.

Since I started teaching in 2010, I have had a sign on my door saying “Everyone is welcome here, everyone belongs.” I believe this to be true, and this is why I marched.

Our country has grown to be better because of the people who stood up. People who peacefully marched. That is what happened on the day of the Women’s March. Over five million women and men around the world, in cities large, small, and tiny, peacefully came together to march for equality. We want to live in a world where people are treated equally. This is why I marched.