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.

I Want an America for All.

I believe ALL people are equal and that is what makes America great.
The current political rhetoric weakens us at home, as well as abroad.  It takes people from every creed and color to pull together to solve our problems in a peaceful manner. I believe in an America for all people.

I Marched to Believe we Can Do Better. And I Walked Away Believing We Can.

I marched. For the women and men who marched before me. And for those women and men who could not.

I marched to add greater cracks in the ceiling made of glass. And I marched for the littles who will lead our country one day.

I marched for me and the ones I love. And I marched for those I haven’t met yet.

I marched for those who believe in the resistance. And for those who don’t think they need it.

I marched for the wage gap. And for freedom of speech.

I marched to no longer be a bystander. And to exercise my rights and privileges as an American.

I marched for public schools. And for equality for all.

I marched for hope. And I marched for strength.

I marched to believe we can do better. And I walked away believing we can.

We Carved Out a Space for Women to Have Value

I marched for paid family leave.  How about instead of constantly proposing bills to make it harder for women to have an abortion we propose bills that make it financially easier for a mother that chose life to bond with her newborn baby?  I sometimes wonder if politicians are even aware that most moms today do work, this isn’t the 1950s.  I marched for paid family leave because I can’t believe this is 2017 and we don’t have it and when I bring it up at work people look at me like I’m nuts.  “Oh, that would take an act of Congress.”  Well then let’s get moving on it!  What are we waiting for?

 I marched to speak out against sexism and racism so that they don’t slowly become socially acceptable.  I marched in support of women who have been sexually abused and to put a stop to rape culture.

 I marched because I believe climate change is real and want to give my children a planet that’s still habitable.

 I marched because one of my best friends is Muslim and worries that she could be sent to an internment camp just like the Japanese were.

 Most of all, I marched for equality.  Not just equality for women but equality for all people that have also been made to feel like they were second class – poor people; people of color; people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender; people with disabilities; people of all different religions or without religion.  The Women’s March loves all and accepts all and I felt love and equality on that beautiful January day like I’ve never felt before.  For once the world was ours, we could complain, we could protest, we could wave rainbow flags down the street in Loup City, we could shout from Alliance to Omaha that we deserve and demand more than the low standards that the world is willing to offer us.   We carved out a space for women to have value and for everyone to be equal.  Equality hurts no one – and that is why I marched.

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!

Marching in Spirit for Equality

I was unable to attend the march, but it still meant a lot to me! I am a young, white woman, who has not had that bad of a life. I marched in spirit for those who have not had the fortunate life I have. While I may not have health insurance and I may be middle class, I am still better off than so many other women are. I don’t have to deal with not receiving services because of the color of my skin or the income that I make. Those who do not have fortune like many of us are the reasons we need to march! I do however fight everyday to bring education, prevention, and intervention to those who have been affected by Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. We must protect women’s rights and keep fighting for more equality!

My Mission is to Stand Up and Show Up

Like many people, I’ve gotten so burnt out and frustrated with politics and the election cycle. I don’t trust ANY particular politician (or individual, for that matter) to fully represent me and my beliefs; the only person who can do that is myself. As such, I’ve made it my mission to stand up and show up for the things I believe in. I marched because I believe that there are so many incredible, talented women who have earned more than what they’ve been given; I marched because our new President doesn’t even come close to meeting the moral, ethical, or intellectual standards that I would hold anyone to; I marched because I am responsible for and should be able to make decisions about my own body; I marched because when, one day, my daughters or nieces ask me where I was that day, I needed to be able to proudly answer that I stood up for myself and for the future of women’s rights and equality in this country.