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 Survivor of Sexual Assault

I am a survivor of sexual assault. I am a mother. I am a taxpayer who wants to see my tax dollars go to help my fellow human beings not to line the pockets of the wealthy. I worked for many years in the helping fields where I treated abused women and children. I am sick of the patriarchal bull that perpetuates violence, undervalues the contributions of women and minorities. I am a Catholic who has seen the word bastardized and twisted to support oppressive laws when we should be keeping a firm separation of church and state. I am sick in my heart at the injustice rape victims, abuse victims, and people of color face in our legal system, especially when the perpetrators are white males.

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?

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 Daughter’s Future

I had my daughter Autumn late last year, a month before the election. As I was home caring for her in those first couple of months, I was wracked with worry about her future. Taking her to the march and seeing so many people supporting women made me see that there is a light at the end of this tunnel and that there is a growing movement to counteract the president’s hurtful policies toward women. Seeing so many young girls (and sons!) made me see our future is still bright!

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!

I Marched for Women’s Rights

Say what you want, but women are not treated equally.

I’ll never forget times I’ve learned (twice now) that a male coworker who had less experience than me made more money than I did.

Or when I took a 12-week unpaid maternity leave after having my son and my boss snarkily referred to it as a vacation when I returned.

Or when I was roofied at a bar by a friend of a friend and was almost assaulted.

Or when men speak over me during meetings.

Or when my ideas aren’t taken seriously.

Or when I’ve had to ask a male coworker to present an idea for me because I knew it would be given more merit simply because it was coming from “one of the guys”.

Or when I’ve been labeled as aggressive and bitchy at work for behaviors that would be labeled as leadership if they came from a man.

Or when teachers, professors, and bosses have hit on me and put me in uncomfortable, inappropriate situations and suggested I would “benefit” in some way if I compromised my integrity.

Or when my ass was grabbed while waitressing.

Or when I walk somewhere alone at night with my keys between my fingers like Wolverine and have to be hyper vigilant due to the danger of being assaulted.

Or when people I work with don’t think I can excel at my job because I am the mother of 2 young children.

I could list every transgression I’ve suffered, but that’s not the point. I will be the first to admit that I have had a privileged life. Many more women have suffered and endured far more than I could ever imagine.

Until women are truly, unequivocally equal, we will continue to fight for these rights. THAT, is why we marched!