For All Those Who are Marginalized.

My children, grandchildren, and two sisters from Kearney and Guide Rock marched alongside me.  I marched because I want the ACA to continue as a law.  Several years ago, I chose to further my education and pursue my degree in the nursing field. As with most farming households, our health insurance was through my work. We would lose it if I worked part-time, so we shopped around for private health insurance. We found that our options were extremely limited. Because my husband had a pre-existing condition of hypertension, our monthly insurance payment would be even higher than the $900 quotes per month we were receiving. Plus it was explained to us, the insurance would not cover any illness that can even remotely be associated with high blood pressure. A stroke or heart attack would not be covered, even though we would be paying top dollar for insurance $1,200. Basically the insurance companies were cherry-picking their clients. Even the Nebraska health insurance program promoted by the governor was over $1,000 a month AND had the pre-existing Health Clause that would not cover hypertension or its related illnesses. Our one saving grace was the children’s health insurance plan (the plan Hillary Clinton was instrumental in passing). Our three children were put on this plan. We took a chance and went forward with my education, all the while worrying about injuries or health problems that would have changed our lives financially and mentally forever. That concern almost kept me from advancing in my field!

Since 2003 I have been a registered nurse. I have seen countless people whose lives have been touched by illness, many that did not have health insurance. Medical debt is the number one cause of bankruptcy. This, and my own experience drove me to become an application counselor for the ACA. I’ve signed up dozens of people to this insurance market. Many have told me it’s the first time they have had health insurance!

This program works. The misinformation about it, spread by inflammatory rhetoric, has been breathtaking!

Insurance companies and their CEOs aren’t going broke. And working people have access to Affordable Health Care through the ACA. This is only ONE reason out of MANY why I march, and my family and I will continue to march.

I marched for my granddaughters. I marched to feel like I could do something. I marched for human rights too. I marched for all those who are made to feel that they are less.

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..

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!

For all the strong, wise women with an undefeatable spirit that came before me

I didn’t march because of a family obligation but I have often thought about why I would have. Many years ago I sat in a car, traveling across Nebraska with my aunt. Conversation had revolved around varied subjects but now settled on politics. She asked me what I thought about some current issue. I shrugged. I had grown up in a small town in the Black Hills of South Dakota. My mother was Democrat, my father was Republican. I can, maybe, remember one isolated instance of hearing them discuss politics. When I turned 18, I registered as a Democrat. I voted in every Presidential election….but I paid very little attention to politics. It wasn’t cool, it wasn’t comfortable, it took too much energy to try to understand it all.

In light of my conversation with my aunt, let me tell you something about the women of family. I come from a long line of wise, strong women with an undefeatable spirit. They crossed the ocean to a new, unfamiliar land filled with hope and, I would imagine, a little trepidation; but they didn’t let that stop them. They crossed the plains and forded rivers in covered wagons with children in tow filled with hope and a little trepidation; but they didn’t let that stop them. They lived in dugouts, built homes of raw timber, planted crops, raised livestock while raising a family with hope and a little trepidation; but they didn’t let that stop them. They raised families, took care of finances, found work outside of the home or took in washing while their husbands, brothers, sons fought in WWI, WWII, and Vietnam. They raised families while attending colleges and universities to become teachers, journalists, nurses, entrepreneurs with hope and a little trepidation; but they didn’t let that stop them.

So, when my aunt gently rebuked me for not being appraised of current political issues I didn’t take it lightly. She reminded me that it is my obligation as a citizen to pay attention because politics, in many ways, shape our lives. It is also my obligation to pay attention because of all the women who came before me that weren’t allowed to enjoy the same privileges that I enjoy.

If I would have marched, I would have marched for all those strong, wise women with an undefeatable spirit that took on life and an ever-changing society with hope and a little bit of trepidation that didn’t slow them down. I would have marched for women who came long before me and wagered everything for my privilege to vote. I would have marched for the women who fought for my right to choose when I start a family. I would have marched for the people who have fought for my friends and family in the LGBTQ community to openly love who and how they love. I would have marched for clean air, fresh water, and National Parks that give us respite and remind us how we are connected to Mother Earth. I would have marched for the marginalized whose voices can’t be heard. I would have marched for equal pay for equal work, for affordable health care for all, for immigrants, for refugees, for Muslims, for my black brothers and sisters who “can’t breathe” and are raised knowing that at some point in their lives they will face racism in some form. I can’t possibly list everything. The gist is this….we have come so far. We have come so far but we still have so far to go. We have come so very far and we must NOT allow a step back.

We are facing something entirely new an unprecedented in our country. With all of the wise, strong women with an undefeatable spirit from my past, my present, and my future standing with me I plan to move forward with hope, and a little bit of trepidation. But I don’t plan on letting that stop me.

I am concerned about reproductive rights and health care.

I participated in the march in my hometown of Loup City, NE. Like many women, I felt compelled to simply take any action to demonstrate the frustration and concern I’ve been feeling lately. Some of the frustration stemmed from anger over comments and/or behavior towards women the President had demonstrated in his past or during the campaign. Some of it was specifically tied to concerns about reproductive rights and health care. And some also extended beyond specifically women’s issues to equality across the board, for LGBT citizens, immigrants, and other minority groups.

As A Cancer Survivor I Marched for Health Care and for My Daughters

I am a breast cancer survivor. I never thought I would get breast cancer at 37. It does not run in my family and I do not carry the gene mutation that causes many types of female cancer. Without a trip to the emergency room and a CAT scan for an unrelated issue, I would have never have caught it early. That is why women’s reproductive health means so much to me. Early detection is key. Hormone related cancers have to be maintained. Without Planned Parenthood many women would not have access to the care they desperately need.

The state of health care is at its infancy and probably at a total upheaval. So where will the disadvantaged or even the middle class go for treatment? Right now, cancer treatment is extremely expensive. I stand by my pink sisters as they have stood by me through the journey of diagnosis through maintenance treatment. And it doesn’t stop there. You then worry about cervical, uterine, ovarian and skin cancers all relating to reproductive health. And I could continue on with the various side effects of the treatments. Women need places like Planned Parenthood for many reasons. And for this reason I march with my sisters to hopefully spare one young woman from a horrible death, sparing her from radical treatments when for less invasive procedures are available. Especially when it is much cheaper to pay for treating the the disease at its earliest stages. I march to save my sisters, mothers, daughters, wives, mothers, cousins, friends, roommates, whoever that person might be. It is that simple.

I also march because I have two daughters. I have two intelligent daughters who deserve to grow up in a country that does not find it acceptable to grab women’s genitals and make comments about their place being barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen. I want more for my daughters. I want them to know that they are equal to boys and they should never be treated differently. I want my daughters to be able to love freely. To not be afraid to express their feelings. To not be afraid to explore new things. To have ambition to do what they love and to do it to the best of their ability. I want my daughters to know that life is not about being better than everyone else. Life is about being the best you and being happy being the best you possible. I march for them and all young girls who are too young to even know what rights they have and what rights need to be protected for them.

I march for the many reasons too long to report each one here. But the above explain the two important reasons I march for women today. I continue to stand up for women not only here but for women globally.