Last Saturday, I woke up to sunshine and blue skies. I had been reading all the information on the different women's marches all over the country and felt compelled to be there. It wasn't until Saturday morning that I really felt that pull, but I think watching the speech on Friday and everything that happened after had really made me want to react somehow.
I went without a sign or a pink hat. Justin came with me and we emerged from the subway station in midtown and were immediately surrounded by fired up people. There were families with small children, older ladies in large groups, couples, groups of friends and people that seemed to be meeting people as they marched. It brought instant tears to my eyes.
The day continued with no drama, no violence. Just lots of support, lots of yelling and cheering and a little bit of confusion when the end of the route was moved and no one really knew where to go. It was pretty easy to find yourself stuck on the east side of town because of all the street closures. The mayor later tweeted that they estimated 400,000 people were participating or watching the march.
After a little reflection and a cocktail or two with friends, we headed home. Once I opened up my laptop, I saw pictures from friends all over the country that had spent their day much like I had spent mine. Again, I found myself with tears in my eyes.
That got me thinking. Why am I so emotional? Why was this march so important for me?
I've always been a liberal. At least, as long as I have known what a liberal was, I have identified that way. I have exercised my right to vote and I have voted for winners and losers. I've helped a few campaigns and donated a little bit of money (go Bernie.) I've signed a few petitions and contacted my representatives once before regarding marriage equality. That is it. I've never protested, so I wasn't sure about a march. But on Saturday, that changed.
I realized the magnitude of what was happening and could sit back no longer. Here is #WhyIMarch:
Women are still only earning a fraction of the money that men are in so many fields and so many companies. Our family leave policies are still minuscule in comparison to so many developed countries around the world. Women's reproductive rights still seem to be up for debate. Girls are told they are too bossy and too loud and too aggressive. They are pushed into roles that they do not belong in. We still have an inherently sexist society. We still have a glass ceiling and while some have punched through, the work of removing it completely still needs doing. We have a healthcare system that lacks transparency and coordination.
I showed up because I believe that women have the right to make decisions about their bodies without the government stepping in. I believe that we should focus on healthcare and not disease care. We need to help people be proactive and preventative with their health. I showed up because women's rights are human rights. I showed up because I wanted to honor all the females before me and the ones that stand next to me. I showed up because I want my nieces to have less battles to fight.
The environment is in desperate need of attention and we still have people in the government that do not believe that climate change is real. We are pumping more oil through our land instead of focusing on solar energy and creating jobs in new fields. We are censoring our National Park service instead of sharing the amazing natural wonders this country has and teaching our children how to take care of the planet. We are letting oil tycoons hold government positions over and over. We are losing species of plants and animals each year with little regard from our government to protect them.
I showed up because I want climate change to be on everyone's radar. I want the conversation to get real. I want focus on renewable energy, public transportation improvements and better policies. I want this country's food industry held accountable for the amounts of sugar in everything. I want the dangerous chemicals banned from our beauty and hygiene products. I want science to be science and not a version of alternate facts.
The children of the US deserve the best we can offer them. They need to be safe at school. They need to learn and play in an environment that promotes health and happiness. They need access to healthcare and education no matter where they live. Child care is not a woman's issue, it's an everyone issue.
I showed up because I want the kids now and the future children not yet born to be able to play in the parks, learn in the schools and thrive at home. I want them to be able to sit through a school day not distracted by thoughts of a school shooter or a flash flood. I want them to look at our generation as inspiration as they continue to stop the effects of climate change. I want every child to grow up feeling empowered and important no matter what religion, race or class.
It is for these reasons that I marched on Saturday. These reasons and so many more. This is why I cried. Being part of something that supported and stood for things that mean so much to me. Being surrounded by people who want these same things. It made me emotional.
Things are changing my friends and it's time you did something to impact which direction we are heading. After all my years of voting and quietly discussing my thoughts among friends, I've realized that it's time for me to speak up and show up.