Yesterday women and men around the world came together in their cities to stand up for their rights, their beliefs and their values. They came together in protest of the normalization of hate against women, people of color, people of different faiths, LGBTQ people, disabled people, and other marginalized populations in this country. One statistic I saw today stated that 4.7 million people showed up in peaceful protest around the world and that there wasn't a single arrest.
I walked in a march in Westfield, NJ. The walk was expected to attract 100-200 people. At least one thousand people attended. It was an amazing experience. The Westfield Police Department closed roads and provided a safe route for the walkers. The participants in the walk stood side by side while we gathered waiting for the walk to commence. We all admired each others signs, took pictures and talked and laughed together. When the walk started we were met with supportive honks from cars that were held to stand still to allow us to pass through. Marchers chanted "Love trumps hate", "Women united can't be divided" and "Stronger Together." The energy of love and peace in the air was palpable. Despite the damp, cold weather, everyone's spirits were high.
I marched because, as a woman, I am held to a different standard of living than a man.
I march because at my daughter's public middle school, her dress code is so much stricter than that of the boy's. She was told to wear boy shorts to gym. She cannot wear leggings. Her tank straps have to be a certain width. Her headbands need to be a certain width. The lesson that she is learning that, because boys are incapable of controlling themselves, she needs to monitor herself. Not that these boys need to monitor themselves.
I marched because, as a woman leader, I am tired of my voice being drowned out when in the company of men. I am tired of needing to control my temperament for fear of being called "too emotional" or "too sensitive" or "crazy" when a man is just "heated" or "passionate."
I march because I am disgusted that a woman can be brutally assaulted and raped and that the criminal who assaulted her served only 3 months in prison because it would ruin his life.
I march because I refuse to be disrespected by men who believe they can insult or belittle or objectify women through the way they address them.
I march because it is still a fact of life that a woman walking alone is fearful for her safety.
I march because people think that its ok to call a woman a whore.
I march because access to safe and affordable healthcare is a right, not a privelege.
I march because I empathize with anyone in this country who has been made to feel afraid, demeaned, or ashamed by how they look, how they worship, who they love, or where they came from.
I march because hate doesn't make anything great.
I march because love and compassion and empathy is the only way to greatness.
I march because together we ARE stronger.
I march for myself. I march to take back any time that a man has caused me to feel fearful, ashamed, or not "something" enough because of my gender. Because I demand the respect that I am owed because I am a human being.
I march. . .