We all have something to give in the world and we all have something to heal.
Like hundreds of thousands of Americans, I marched last weekend in the Women’s March. Some people don’t understand why someone would go to a march, saying “It doesn’t make any difference.”
It makes a difference for me.
Would you tell Martin Luther King that you didn’t get why he marched? The historic march from Selma to Montgomery Alabama in 1965 led to President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, an enormous accomplishment that many people died and suffered for. Slaves were emancipated in 1865. It took 100 years of struggle for them to finally be able to vote and have political representation.
King said to the crowd who gathered, ‘‘There never was a moment in American history more honorable and more inspiring than the pilgrimage of clergymen and laymen of every race and faith pouring into Selma to face danger at the side of its embattled Negroes’’ (King, ‘‘Address at the Conclusion of the Selma to Montgomery March,’’ 121).
As I watch the testimonies of the young women who were harmed and over again by Larry Nassar and Gymnastics USA, I am in tears. Another system that supports abuse. It is yet another wake up call for why we speak up, why we write, why we educate, why we testify, why we stand in solidarity with each other and why we march.
We march because women’s voices have been silenced and co-opted for too long.
We march because large organizations like Gymnastics USA protect predators and allow them to abuse children.
We march because women in low-wage jobs have no protections and are routinely harmed while at work—and no responsibility is placed on their employers for their safety.
We march because women’s careers are ruined when they speak up for themselves or refuse sexual advances of men who have power over them.We march because nearly every woman knows what it is to be coerced into sexual acts she does not want.
We march because far too many children grow into adults who struggle sexually, emotionally and physically because of the abuse they endured.
We march because the number one threat to women’s lives and wellbeing is domestic violence.
We march because our society has systems that support theabuse, discrimination and exploitation of women, especially when they are poor or of color.
We march because “even the good guys” have engaged in behaviors that disrespect women because of the way boys and men are socialized into a toxic masculinity.
We march because new parents are not given proper maternity and paternity leave in order to do the hard work of bringing a child into the world while healing themselves.
We march because in 2018 there is still no Equal Rights Amendment. We’ve been fighting for it since 1923.
We march because to be a woman, to be trans, to be a person of color, to be disabled, to be an immigrant makes us vulnerable to inequality, injustice and abhorrent discrimination that makes it difficult to fully realize our dreams.
I’m not marching for them. I march for me and for you.
I march because I want to be with your spirits in solidarity and I want to feel inspired and less alone.
I march because I am committed to the full empowerment of all people, most especially those who are deeply disempowered by unfair systems and ideologies.
I march in the spirit of the civil rights movement that taught us to take up public space, use our voices, face our oppressors and say “Enough!”
Eventually, they will have to listen. Or they will be gone.
I know that not everyone feels called to march. That’s okay. Let’s each show up in the way that makes sense for us. Do what feels good to you. But do something.
We have a lot of healing to do: both individually and collectively.
Do your work so you can help and show up in the collective in a more powerful way.
Together we create the change we want to see in this world and that change is gonna’ come.