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.

“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.