ONE: Gloria Steinem said: “Each others’ lives are our best textbooks.”
My friends have been extraordinary textbooks on raising my consciousness about privilege and racism, on navigating gender inequality, on leading with love and kindness and exhibiting the strength to stand up, educate and stand together.
In the October 19, 2016 podcast: Note To Self: “If My Body Is a Text,” Manoush Zomorodi says: “As long as I kept my gaze forward I could see a relatively happy world” vs. looking left or right and seeing flames or untold millions weeping. “I can choose not to look at them by virtue of who I am…What is the morally appropriate posture for someone who is safe?”
She didn’t want to keep looking straight ahead and not seeing the other realities in the world. Neither did I. I marched to lend my voice and presence for issues I know are important even if I haven’t personally dealt with them. For to show gratitude towards my friends and countless articles and stories that have help reframe my perspective. I marched to show women’s rights, civil rights, my rights matter.
TWO: I marched against the over-simplification of complex issues.
Health Rights. Access to good care, education and services should not be reduced to inflammatory and purposefully misleading soundbites. That action is to keep politicians in power vs. actually help the American public. It’s frankly amazing how much we DON’T know about our own health — I learned this working on a women’s global health project and how Americans are consistently not taught the science about their bodies, especially in regards to reproduction. I marched because I don’t want legislation to limit access for women’s health and reproductive rights because it ALWAYS ends up fanning the flame for less health education. Less health education – more unwanted pregnancies and more abortions.
THREE: I marched because I believe there is only ONE race, the human race.
I was horrified how DJT ran his rallies: the anger and allowance of physical and verbal violence (but brushed off as “for the show”).
I am saddened by any talk that even slightly dismisses the Black Lives Matter movement. It’s dismissed because those people are USED to black lives being second to their own. They are subconsciously, and consciously, aware that this is just the way it is and therefore they are staying willfully blind, and purposefully ignorant of another friend/mother/father/sister/brother/grandmother’s reality. They stubbornly refuse to consider that perhaps they way they’ve viewed the world isn’t entirely accurate. That they might even be racist. That they had been conditioned to see the world that way. This is a tough one. And why it’s important to visibly and vocally validate those experiences, those tragedies, those lives. So when Janelle Monae led a call and response with the mothers who had lost their sons to violence, I raised my voice without hesitation.
I’m stunned by the fact that LGBTQ still have to fight against open and legal discrimination. That conversion therapy is actually making on a national agenda. We are all one race. We are all human. We cannot treat each other this way. This superior attitude is small-minded, close-minded, unChristian…the list can go on. It’s immoral.
FOUR: To Have a Blast
Supporting each other is one of the great joys in life. It’s fun. I went to stand with my friends on important issues we believe in. I went to stand with women and men I’d never met to support their issues. I went to show that thousands of people can come together in harmony for a peaceful (and totally fun) protest. That anger doesn’t have to manifest in violence but can manifest in momentum for positive change.
FIVE: My Kids
I marched to show my children we stand up for what we believe in. I wanted to start the dialogue with them about positive activism. The march was the first step. But the hard work will be in the days after. I want them part of it because it’s their future, even more than it is mine.
My experience in one word: KINDNESS
The March on Washington on Saturday, January 21, 2017 left one main imprint on me. Kindness. From the moment I got on the train at 6:35am to when I got back to Richmond that night, I was met with kindness, positivity, openness and love. Kindness was at the root of everything — of doing right by all women, men, people of color, people who identify as LGBTQ, and people of all ages, backgrounds and religions. Doing right by all humans is rooted in basic kindness. Thousands were pressed together like sardines and negativity did not arise. I felt only kindness and respect for the people I stood shoulder to shoulder with on one of the most amazing days of my life.