Not for Me But for My Friends.

I endured a grueling bus trip to be in DC on Saturday. I traveled from Iowa with friends. Not for me but for my friends.

I March for my black women friends who are worried that their husbands and sons will be killed in a traffic stop.

I marched for my immigrant friends so they would feel safe in the country they’ve adopted because their own country was not a healthy place to live.

I Marched for my Muslim friends, who deserve the right to choose their religion in a country taken from Native Americans by people escaping religious persecution.

I marched for my Great grandmother who lost her farm when her husband died, she had to sell grain in the name of her 5 year old son. For my great aunt who shared the story of her mother getting to vote. These stories of string women make up my family, may they watch over me and be proud.

For inequality in the workplace and everyday sexism we are so used to we barely notice. For a salary correction that awards equal work for equal pay.

Women are as capable of making decisions as men. Stop legislating our bodies. You cannot stop abortion, you can stop safe abortion. The Hyde amendment has kept your federal funds safe since 1976 when I was 10. Stop wasting your legislative efforts in non issues and spend time doing good.

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!

Sexual harassment at work is ignored

It was encouraging to hear the organization beginning for the Women’s March the day after the Inauguration.
I wanted to participate, I NEEDED to participate, but as so many others like me, I had to work that day.  I haven’t the luxury of taking time off work, as I live paycheck to paycheck.  Since the election, I feel that is actually at risk.  Some of my female friends have been laid off work, others dismissed completely.   Can it be proven that is directly related to the election of Donald Trump?  Probably not, but I do believe it is, at least in part, a contributing factor.
Since I live in a rural area, women have always been seen as “just the caretakers.”  We have been relegated to teachers, nurses, secretaries, assistants.  In the past year, I have been passed up for a job promotion, to a young man who had no experience at all in my industry.  I applied for, interviewed, and was passed up for a Veteran Service Office position, despite my credentials and involvement with local vets, over a man who had never even joined a veteran’s organization.  During the interview, it was alluded to that “vets have a hard time with women who were allowed into the service.”
In January, I quit my job, because a young man yelled at me that I was a “fucking bitch.” I was in my manager’s office, and even though the incident happened in front of the manager, nothing was done.  When I gave notice, the manager was shocked that I would quit over such a minor incident.  He forced the young man to apologize, and begged me to stay, which I agreed to.  I did tell both of them if another incident like that ever happened again, I was taking them to court.  Neither seemed to get that what happened was sexual harassment.  It was all over their belief that as a secretary and the only female in the office, I should be happy to clean up their muddy messes.  When I offered them the vacuum cleaner, I was attacked.
The young man was the same one last fall who couldn’t wait to vote for Trump, and laughed deliriously at the “grab them by the pussy” comment.  The manager and the young man were a little shocked when I got angry that they were laughing.  I have seen more and more disrespect, not only towards women, but also minorities, LBGTQ, and the disabled.  It is like, somehow, we have turned from a polite society into a bigoted bunch of entitled babies, saying and doing anything regardless of consequences and who might get hurt.
I am sick at heart, and devoid of hope since Trump’s election, and inauguration.  He is certainly causing change in Washington, just like he promised.  It is not, however, the change his supporters anticipated.  The man needs to be stopped.  If that takes protests, so be it.  I have tried to call my senators, but their phones have been busy.  I have sent e-mails.
I have never felt unsafe in my community, my state, or my country.  I find myself looking at everyone I meet, wondering who is now friend or foe?
The darkness and hopelessness in my heart grows daily against this despot, who calls himself President.  He doesn’t represent me, or anyone resembling me.  He is a dangerous man.

Rights Are Being Trampled and Taken Away

I am very concerned about the new president’s competency to run the country and the direction things are going since he took office. His appointments are unqualified, poor choices for the departments they are to head. People seem to think his winning the election gives them license to discriminate and hate. Rights are being trampled and taken away. Our National Parks are in danger and his ‘muzzling’ attempts of various departments is frightening.

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.

“My rights don’t matter unless everyone’s rights matter”

I marched because I will not contribute to normalizing a man and his political party who have spread hate…for women, for minorities, for disabled, for sexual assault survivors, for people whose religion doesn’t match their own. It is not normal and it will never be normal.

I marched because I have three little nieces who deserve to grow up in a world where women are treated equally and whose sex can’t be used as a “pre-existing condition.” Girls who deserve to see powerful women running the world.

I marched because I refuse to accept that it’s okay for men to consistently beat out women who are more qualified than them for professional positions.

I marched because joking about and/or participating in sexual harassment, sexual assault, and abuse should NEVER be okay and should be disqualifying for someone in the highest office.

I marched because I will never side with people who support spreading hate to people because of their race, religion or sexual orientation.

I marched for all my LGBT friends who are scared that their right to get married will be taken away from them and that they will be allowed to be discriminated against for who they love.

I marched because it is 2017 and making fun of disabled people by a man who has had 70 years to learn that that is not acceptable is NOT OKAY.

I marched because I’ve spent an entire year dedicated to helping refugees from around the world who are escaping for their lives…From the month I spent volunteering in Lesvos, Greece, to welcoming a refugee family into their new home in Lincoln last month. I will never give in to fearmongering and xenophobia. I will never back down from supporting their human rights.

I marched because neutrality helps the oppressor, never the oppressed.

I marched because my rights don’t matter unless everyone’s rights matter.

Equal rights and protections for all people

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.