Women’s rights are everyone’s rights

I marched for my disabled mother who raised three kids by herself. I marched for my fiancé, for all of her dreams and goals; the love I have for her being the biggest motivator. I marched for my sister; she prides herself in being able to live on her own and pay her own bills. I marched for the women I work with in my job and the women I work with in the various organizations and with the community; they often are more likely to volunteer and put in work for the sake of the people.

I marched for the women who couldn’t march. I marched for the women who raised me and influenced me. I marched for the women in my life who have always supported me.

Finally, I marched for me because there are as many women who rely on me as much as I rely on them. When their rights are taken or threatened, we’re the ones that will be next.

Strength is in diversity

My daughters.  I want them to see that it matters when people stand up for each other.  That there is strength in diversity and that everyone matters, that love and acceptance matters.  I also marched for my uncle, who is bisexual. The LGBT community is sparse here and I think it’s important for him to know that there are friends in this area.  That not everyone is filled with hate and discontent for LGBT people of Nebraska.

We needed to know we are not alone

I marched because I wanted to show my son that women are strong and fierce. I marched because I do not support any of the new administration’s policies. I marched because America is already great; made so by women, immigrants, all different races and religions, including non-religious people. I marched because love is love and black lives matter. I marched because, like many of us, I felt heartbroken and betrayed on election night. For weeks after that day I could hardly look people in the eye. I couldn’t stop wondering if the people I’ve lived around for my entire life felt like my life was less valuable because of my gender, that my partner and son’s lives were less valuable because of their race, that my best friend’s life was less valuable because of who he loves. I needed to know, and I needed my family to know, that we were not alone. I needed to turn my despair into hope. I needed to remind myself that, even in this almost hopelessly red state, there are people that truly care about other people, without exception. That is why my family and I marched.

Stand up for justice and truth

I asked myself and others “why march?” many times before actually deciding to do it. After the election I was shocked, upset, disconnected, angry, sad and just generally overwhelmed and unsure of how to proceed. A march sounded good. But I wasn’t sure it would address the responsibility I felt to my children, my family, my community and my country to address the consequences of the presidential election. I wanted to stand up for justice and truth – but I wasn’t sure if a march would make a lasting difference. Marching might make me feel better, but would my energy and effort be better spent elsewhere? Ultimately I decided to march. I marched because I believe it is important to treat all people with respect. I believe in the Constitution and the freedoms that come with it. I care about people with disabilities. I marched for the many women in our country who know first-hand about sexual assault and sexual harassment, and specifically for those women who bravely told their truths during the election for the entire world to hear and then watched as their country elected him anyway. I marched because I believe immigrants and refugees have made and will continue to make our country strong. I marched because I want my elected officials to know that I value equal rights for ALL. I marched because I am worried about how the policies of the new administration will impact healthcare, the rights of the LGBT community, women, immigrants, the environment and education. I marched because I’m scared and because I care deeply. Now more than ever I want to be an active and engaged citizen. For me that means marching, writing my elected officials, praying, thinking, reading, and staying engaged. I commit to all that. And I will never again think twice again about marching. It was one of the more positive, cathartic, and energizing things I have done.