We met early in the morning with a group of friends, about thirty of us in all. The younger kids all wrote their moms’ phone numbers on their arms with a Sharpie. The moms and dads carried backpacks full of snacks, sunglasses, water bottles, and sunblock (yes, sunblock for January in Chicago – climate change is real).
We rode on standing-room-only el trains into downtown Chicago. There were seemingly endless things to eat stashed in the backpacks. As we moms noted, a women’s march is built on snacks, sisterhood and SHOWING UP. Spirits were high from the moment go.
Yesterday, an acquaintance asked me, “Why are you marching? Trump won. It’s done.”
Yes, he won. But it’s only the beginning of his administration, and what I have seen thus far is the systematic attempt to dismantle civil rights.
For those who are trying to understand, here is why I march:
- I march for my three daughters, who have the right to grow up in a world where men can’t “do anything they want to them, grab them by the pussy.”
- I march for my late grandmother, whose Jewish family escaped persecution in Russia and found a new life in America. I think of her as I see the stoic, shocked faces of the children of Aleppo.
- I march for my friends of color, who suffer the pain of stereotypes and violence as they are hated by complete strangers simply because their skin is brown. I march for the black female Chicago police officer who was unabashedly sobbing with emotion today as hundreds of marchers on Jackson Ave stopped to hug her and thank her for her service. The Chicago police were incredible throughout the long, crowded day.
- I march for my LGBTQ friends, who have the right to love who they love without fear of shame and discrimination.
- I march for those who are terrified of losing their healthcare coverage and wonder how they will provide medicine and treatment for their families.
- I march for the refugees of the world, the huddled masses who turn their faces toward the Statue of Liberty, in the hopes of having a free life. For those who want to keep others out, please remember that we are all immigrants to America, with the exception of those who are Native Americans.
- I march for a women’s right to choose what happens with her own body. I understand that I might make different choices than other women, but that does not entitle me to tell other women what to do with their bodies.
- I march for families built on adoption, families who have learned that love sees no color, no religion and no nationality. My daughter’s birth mother is a religious Christian who is traveling next month to our town to witness with joy when our daughter becomes a Bat Mitzvah, in keeping with our Jewish faith.
- I march for the future, because this is a movement, not a moment. This is the beginning. If today’s passion does not translate into congressional action, then we have failed. The 2018 mid term elections will be critical. Advocate and vote and repeat.
- I march for the schoolchildren of America, who deserve a quality public education that meets the needs of every child, regardless of disability, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, or religious beliefs.
- I march for our planet, for the gasping green trees and the strangled sea creatures, for the melting polar ice caps and the rising waters. Business and profits will mean nothing if we don’t have clean air to breathe, safe food to eat, and thriving lands to cultivate.
I march because I can. I am grateful for my freedoms, for my country, for having a voice. This is what democracy looks like. It is women and children and men of every color and creed coming together to protect all creatures great and small.
Let us harvest this energy and turn it into change. To take continuing action, visit www.indivisibleguide.com.
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