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.
I grew up in central Nebraska where I was never comfortable speaking out against friends or family members who had differing view points, even if they made me uncomfortable and even if I knew what they were saying was wrong. I’ve lived in Omaha for years, and although the atmosphere here is much different, I still find that I have a difficult time speaking up. I donated quietly to Hillary’s campaign, hoping that it would be enough. And then it wasn’t. The Women’s March was my first march and my first protest. It was part of the beginning of me taking a stand for everything I believe in. I changed the night of the election, and I will not go quietly any more.
I marched because ALL women’s rights are important. Trump plans to overturn the Affordable Care Act which threatens Planned Parenthood, availability to birth control, safe abortions, and inclusive sex education. I marched because I wanted white women to see that ALL women matter, not just them–and also to help them realize that Trump and his appointees don’t care about them. My voice is important and I will NOT quietly allow my rights to be stripped away, nor will I stand by while other people’s rights are being stripped away–especially not by an angry, fearful man.
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.
I marched as a mother of a daughter so that she may have full control over her body and family-planning decisions. I marched as a daughter of a mother so that her Medicare and Medicaid will not be privatized. I marched for friends with chronic and preexisting conditions so that they can continue to get treatment in this, the richest country in the world. I marched as a human being who needs environmental regulations to ensure that I and my fellow Americans have non-polluted water to drink and air to breathe. I marched as an American against Trump’s ideology and his utterly unqualified and even Nazi Cabinet appointments.
I didn’t march but I understand why many did. The reason I feel the Women’s March was important is because so many people believe women’s rights are only about abortion. I am not pro-abortion but I am pro-women’s health and women’s rights. I believe in providing services to those who need them. I believe in educating our young people about sex and the prevention of pregnancy and disease. I believe in equal opportunity and pay. We have come a long way but we are not there yet. I believe that women must continue to fight for their autonomy and continue to speak up so the current administration understands that we will not allow our rights to be stripped from us.
I marched for a million reasons and some that can never truly be expressed through words. I marched to have my own voice heard, but also to be the voice for others who can not speak or may not know they need to. I marched because I believe in civil liberties, human rights, black lives matter, LGBTQ+ equality, My Rights to Choose, Love Trumping Hate, Free and Decent Education, and yes – love of my Country. I marched because I have Hope over everything else.