For Those Who Don’t Have the Same Privileges and Opportunities That I Do

For my English Language Learner (ELL) students and my friends’ spouses who weren’t born in America. They should know they are welcome here and we love them.

For my DREAMer friends who are well-educated, hard-working people, not the rapists and murders the president makes them out to be.

For my LBTQ+ friends and family, who finally received the right to marry but could see their rights taken away or limited.

For victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, because you matter. It’s not a joke no matter what the president says or tweets.

For my nephew on the autism spectrum and all those with developmental or physical disabilities – no one should make you feel less than you are, especially the president.

For access to women’s preventive screenings, because at 25 I had a high risk of cervical cancer and had to have cervix cells removed to protect my future.

For a choice on when or if I have children. This has allowed me to earn a four-year degree, pay off my student loans, build a career, travel the world, enjoy time with my spouse, save for retirement, buy a house, and volunteer my time and talents in excess.

For access to affordable healthcare. I, and many others, will spend 30 years of our lives managing our reproductive healthcare, so access is crucial.

For all the women (and men) who don’t have the same privileges and opportunities that I do. You matter, I think of you often and I will fight for you.

I am a Christian and Absolutely Believe Jesus Would Have Been Marching with Us

First, women’s rights. I came of age before Roe v. Wade and I never want to go back. Also for rights of other vulnerable populations, minority, immigrants, Muslim, poor, LBGTQ, disabled..Old and young..Any one seen as OTHER..We have a moral obligation to treat all OTHERS with respect and love. I am a Christian and absolutely believe Jesus would have been marching with us..These are the very folks he cared for, I grieve for what many “so-called Christians” do in Jesus’ name. It is truly evil. I am so angry at our “so called leaders.” I will not go quietly.  I am a nurse practitioner and have fought the mainstream white male medical establishment for the right to practice my trade decades..I am now broadening the fight..

Why Wouldn’t I March? Why Didn’t You?

I grew up in a small town in central Nebraska, went out of state to college, work, and grad school, and returned to rejoin my family. Seven years ago, I started my own family here. I’m now an educator, a mom, a researcher, a wife, a small business owner, a student. I’m comfortable speaking up and speaking out. But I wasn’t sure I would march. I’m 38 years old, and I, like most of the others in this collection, had never engaged like that before. I am a lot of different things, but was I an activist, a protester?

 Eventually, I realized… why wouldn’t I march?

Why wouldn’t I march– if I believe that whether you’re LGBTQ, Muslim, refugee, black, immigrant, differently-abled, or female, you don’t deserve to be afraid. You don’t deserve to be treated, in the eyes of the law, the characters of Twitter, or the dismissive or derisive comments of lawmakers, as anything less than equal, whole, supported, worthy, respected, valued Humans.

Why wouldn’t I march– if I love this country, in a way I’m frankly only now discovering, as I watch the fundamental principles for which it stands being threatened and twisted through the words, actions, behavior or inaction of many who are supposed to represent us. Through a “travel ban”; through threats to the free press, the judiciary, the environment, funding for climate change and gun control research, affordable health care, public education and more; through support of waterboarding; through party-line votes and support for an unfit Secretary of Education, an unfit head of the EPA, an unfit Attorney General, to name a few.

Why wouldn’t I march– if I reject the painful, intolerant, objectifying words and regressive, intolerant, fundamentally un-American actions of President Trump, and anyone who condones or defends them.

Why wouldn’t I march– if I believe that physical and sexual assault isn’t funny, and comments about women being not being attractive enough to be assaulted make my stomach turn, make me feel inhuman and demoralized and outraged and unsafe and confused and scared for my 7-year-old daughter. If many lawmakers don’t seem to be outraged with me. If I honor the many strong survivors I worked with at domestic violence shelters, and their beautiful scarred strong children.

Why wouldn’t I march– if I believe that a woman’s health includes her mental, emotional, economic, and physical well-being. That she deserves the right and the respect to make her own intelligent choices about it, rather than be denied options by largely white male lawmakers who have no idea what it’s like to be her. That those who do become mothers, their co-parents, and their new babies, deserve paid parental leave from the richest country in the world.

We can do better. We must do better. We are better.

As my pastor used to preach, we’re called to “remove the chains of injustice, let those who are oppressed go free, share bread with those who are hungry, and shelter homeless poor people” (Isaiah 58:6-12).  Nebraskans will continue answer that call. We will monitor and advocate and vote and fight and use our “shrill” voices to push the city, the state, the country to deliver liberty and justice for all.

Will you?

I marched because, if we are our sister’s and brother’s keepers, I didn’t know where else I could be.

Why wouldn’t I march?

Why didn’t you?

I Marched Because I Want Our Voices to Be Heard!

I marched because I learned the importance of being an advocate in 1976 when I started my first job as a counselor at Planned Parenthood of Lincoln.  I saw the need for women to have affordable health care, birth control counseling, and pregnancy option counseling without being judged.  I marched because I fear that funding for Planned Parenthood will continue to be reduced and women will not have an option for free or affordable health care, that a woman’s rights to control reproduction, and that their right to have a safe and legal abortion will all be taken away.

In 1986, I started working as an Independent Living Advisor at the League of Human Dignity.  This involved advocating for the rights of students with disabilities to see that schools were applying the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  So many individuals with disabilities are still facing huge barriers to live independent lives without being judged by society based on the fact that they have a disability.  I am a woman with a disability and felt like my voice needed to be heard at the Women’s March.

I marched because the LGBTQ community faces barriers in regulations of employment discrimination, bias in hiring, promotion, job assignment, termination, and compensation, as well as harassment on the basis of one’s sexual orientation.  I marched because I fear their rights with marriage equality will be stripped.

I marched to fight for the rights of woman to receive equal pay.   Women still are not receiving equal pay for equal work, let alone equal pay for work of equal value. This disparity not only affects women’s spending power, it penalizes their retirement security by creating gaps in Social Security and pensions.

I marched because of race discrimination.  Martin Luther King is one of my heroes and I marched for him.  I marched for Margaret Sanger, Rosa Parks, Susan B. Anthony and every person who has fought for the rights of all the causes that I believe in.

I marched because I want our voices to be heard!

This Man is not My President!

march_2017
Photo Credit – Sara Sawatzki, Open Road Photographer 2017

I am from the 3rd district in Fairbury, Nebraska and I drove over an hour to get to the Nebraska state capital to march and I also had to find a driver. I felt it was very important for me to participate in the Women’s March at the capital with Trump’s past comments made about groups of people  and not to normalize him. People tell me to give him a chance but as a person with a disability, a woman, and more importantly just a human being I cannot give Trump a chance or support him or the Republican Party. It was not just people in Lincoln or Omaha area like some have said but were people there from all over Nebraska. This man is not my President! I am more convinced of this than ever before with him not allowing many Muslims and refugees into the USA!

 

All people deserve equality

I marched because I believe that all people deserve equity. I am sick of people being discriminated against. We are all people of this country and deserve to be treated as such. I marched for women rights, LBGTQIA+ rights, disabled persons rights, immigration rights, refugee rights, and racial rights.

Never again will I sit idly by

On January 20, 2017 I boarded a bus with 50 like-minded humans and rode all day and all night so I could take part in the Women’s March on Washington.  Many people asked why I would spend 24 hours on a bus just to spend 10 hours marching followed immediately by 24 more hours on that bus.  Here are some of my reasons:

I marched because black lives matter, Mexicans are not criminals, Muslims are not terrorists, love is love, climate change is real, and poverty shouldn’t be a crime.

I marched because woman is NOT the weaker sex incapable of making her own decisions.

I marched because Trump bragged about sexual assault and rather than condemn him, we, as a nation, cheered him on.

I marched because Trump mocked a disabled reporter and rather than condemn him we, as a nation, cheered him on.

I marched because Trump’s actions and policies have alienated the rest of the world and rather than condemn him, we, as a nation, cheered him on.

I marched because I’ve never been very politically active and I’m afraid my complacency is in part to blame for the incredible mess our country is now in.

I marched to let the powers that be know this: NEVER AGAIN will I sit idly by as our nation’s values are flushed down the toilet.