I marched for my two sons (and I marched alongside my older son), so they know the strength of collective action and understand the importance of equal rights and protections for all people. I marched for my mother, whose reproductive health has been supported by Planned Parenthood and other organizations over several decades, and who taught me to stand up for what I believe. I marched for my sister, who serves in the armed services and faces sexism and harassment by men who are supposed to be her comrades. I marched for my students, to protest sexual assault and sexual harassment on campus, and to support their ongoing right to an open, equal, and scientifically-based education. I marched to show my support for family planning funding; for immigrants’ rights and protections; for full equality for LGBTQ individuals; for people of color who still face both subtle and overt forms of discrimination in many areas of their lives; for women who face discrimination in education, employment, reproductive health, breastfeeding, childrearing (or choosing not to have children at all), and even while walking down the street as they are subjected–as I myself have been–to harassment and fear of assault. I marched to support the Affordable Care Act and the expansion of Medicaid, to provide necessary health coverage for all individuals regardless of preexisting conditions, income, age, and other characteristics. I marched for reasonable gun control to keep our schools and public spaces safe, and because no child should be afraid to go to school or be distracted by the presence of guns in their schools. I marched because I love the State of Nebraska, I love my community, and I love my country. I marched because I believe in the promises made throughout our history of freedom, equality, justice, and protection from persecution and harm, and I believe our future can be more civil, more equal, more welcoming, more supportive, and more forward-looking than our present. I believe in the Nebraska state motto: “Equality before the law.” Let’s get to work achieving that equality.
I marched because I love our country, and I value truth and freedom. Not even a week into his term, our new President has lied repeatedly; denied the press access to him and his administration; has silenced entities and organizations that disagree with him; is frighteningly unable to discern between the trivial and the important when attacking those who disagree with him (and he personally attacks citizens of the United States who disagree with him); and is destroying advances we’ve made in women’s/immigrants’/minorities’ rights, religious freedom, science education, affordable health care, environmental issues, and equality issues facing minorities. I value what rights we have in this country, and I’d like to preserve and expand them–not contract them. Women’s rights need to continue to grow and expand, and I believe the current President will not only fail to advance women’s issues (access to affordable health care and services, equal pay for equal work, affordable/reliable child care, educate legislative bodies/judges/attorneys about the rape culture in our society that gives the perpetrator every advantage, and many others), he’ll turn back the clock on the painstaking progress we’ve made.
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.