For me the march was about my children. I have 21-year-old twins, a daughter and son. They are both at UNL. My daughter is an Ag Ed major and my son is an El Ed major. My husband and I farm and have outside jobs in the ag field. We believe that none of you have our best interest at heart. Betsey DeVos is the absolute WORST thing for both students and teachers in public education, yet you all support her. President Trump is signing EO’s so fast his head is spinning. NAFTA and TPP were GOOD for Nebraska Ag, but none of our state leaders had the spine to fight for them. At the same time, our state is short of money. I march because I want my daughter and son to be protected by Title IX. You don’t. I march because I believe none of you have MY family’s best interests at heart. I march because I believe in humanity and that there isn’t a boogie man behind every face. I march for the lovely Iranian grad student and his wife and child who live across the hall from my children. They are GOOD people and they worked HARD to get here. I march because you are all so wrong in how you represent me.
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 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.