January 21, 2017. Why did I march?
I am an activist and a feminist at heart. I am so very grateful for my upbringing, as it made me who I am today. I was provided a public education, instilled with a love of reading and lifetime learning, and I am thankful to have a family that shares and mutually supports this love of knowledge and education. I have learned that if we wish to keep our rights in good shape with our government, we have to exercise them.
The First Amendment is one of the most important rights any society should be lucky to have. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Women are a partner in the source of life, necessary for us ALL. When the Women’s March was organized, I felt there was no choice. I had to march.
We all marched for a myriad of reasons. I marched to participate, to be inspired and a part of something greater than myself. I marched for the great grandmothers and grandmothers who marched before me. I showed up in support of my mothers, sisters, nieces, aunties, cousins, teachers, and friends. I marched for education, sexual freedom, and in solidarity with my LGBTQ friends. I wanted to be an example of strength and peace. I marched in solidarity with my sisters across the country and around the world.
I marched because on average in the United States, women make 80 cents on the dollar compared to a man for the EXACT SAME WORK. Women of color face even stronger disparity. This is not what equality looks like.
I marched because access to healthcare and education are vital. I do not support the de-funding of Planned Parenthood and other women’s healthcare programs. Sexual health and truth education in our society is critical to our success. Public schools and teachers should be fully funded and supported in the education of the next generation and must be held accountable for doing so.
Today, rape culture, human trafficking and the lies that support these things are insidious. I marched because we need to instill in our children that their bodies are their own, to be mutually respected and not forced into any activity they choose not to participate in. Rape is not okay. Trafficking of women and children in sex crimes and slavery is not okay. So-called “locker room” banter bragging of sexual assault is not okay. WE ALL MUST BE ACCOUNTABLE.
Senator Jeff Sessions, the Trump Administration’s pick for Attorney General, has a frightening record on his lack of support for women, and the man who is now our President is an accused sexual assaulter, known adulterer, and proven misogynist. This is not what respect of women looks like. My heart fears what the future supreme court nomination holds in store for us.
I do not believe that lies and deception are the “norm” and we should not allow them to become so. Dan Rather said, “Facts and the truth are not partisan. They are the bedrock of our democracy.” We need to stand up to bullies and liars and protect truth and justice at all costs.
I feel less alone now in my belief that we must continue to fight for our own rights. If estimates are correct, I participated in something of globally historic significance.
I believe in the golden rule. I believe we should support one another as a community to the best of our abilities. I believe we should speak out for the things we believe in with love and not hate. Work for what you want to see in the world, and try not to be overly-critical of those who get out to try and make the change they want to see. Accepting that we should be “thankful” for what we have and shut our mouths, ends in complacency. Those in power want you to be comfortable. They appreciate your silence. It’s easy to keep filling the bank account and raping the planet when nobody stands up to you. The rich, if you haven’t noticed, just keep getting richer. Our people and planet are in trouble.
We can agree or we can disagree. We can be respectful either way, I hope. The ladies marching showed me that we can and will be able to move our world forward with LOVE into the future.
Great job, Portland. I’m proud of my city and gender tonight. I’m also proud of the men who joined in solidarity, support, and in spirit. Let’s keep the movement rolling.
“Any time women come together with a collective intention, it’s a powerful thing. Whether it’s sitting down making a quilt, in a kitchen preparing a meal, in a club reading the same book, or around the table playing cards, or planning a birthday party, when women come together with a collective intention, magic happens.” ~Phylicia Rashad