Social Good

Why I March: My Women’s March Story

Contrary to popular belief, you can be in a world bustling with seven billion people and still feel alone. Perhaps by primal default, we often pass through life in a bubble of our own stories, struggles, successes, and anxieties. We subconsciously look inward, seeing life through our singular set of prescription lenses—whether rose-colored or gray. After seeing injustice, it’s easy to laydown—perhaps that is what we’re expected to do. It isn’t until we remove the lenses that we acknowledge the 7 billion unique and colorful lives surround us, each with their stories, messages, and passions. The feeling of solitude dissipates when we wake up and realize that we are one voice in a dangerously beautiful ecosystem.

I use dangerously with intention. I know and understand that not all people dwelling in our system have the best intentions. While the world is strung together by the 7 billion different heartbeats, you should know there are more beating for the same reasons as you than you may think. Those beating for equality, justice, world preservation and humanity have been syncing in unison and fighting to push forward for centuries, but yesterday those hearts felt a tremor so strong in shook up the entire world in a way we’ll never forget.

Photo by Kendall Hanna

I proudly marched in Houston, one of an estimated 22,000 people, in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington. Yesterday, we held a pen to the pages of a yet-to-be-written history book for our future children and grandchildren to read and remember. We will not be a footnote, but a chapter in a revolution built on love. I am just one of more than one million authors who made history, so I will share my story with you in hopes that it offers a sense of belonging and compassion. In hopes that you know you are not alone.

As I walked toward City Hall and heard the chanting of 22,000 voices, I could not have anticipated the feelings that came over me. Every piece of self-doubt and personal struggle I felt seemed to melt off my exterior as the sun beat down on a woke congregation. The minutia of stress I had culminating inside me over trivial to-do list items fell to the floor as I marched over the fleeting superficialities. Nothing mattered but this moment.

As I moved through the crowd, my eyes watered with what felt more like the tears of one million passionate women than just my own. I was not alone, and neither are you.

Mayor Sylvester Turner took the stage and when he spoke the familiar promise of “liberty and justice for all…everybody,” the crowd rallied with a lightness to outweigh even the darkest of times. A preponderance of signs in every color painted the skyline. Flags swayed in concordance with voices of determination—flags of not just red, white, and blue, but rainbow, too. Fists of every race were hoisted high in powerful resistance, not in violence but the pursuit of equality. When it was all over, women and their allies gathered to the front of the stage for hugs and a much welcomed girl-power dance party.

Of the hugs I received from complete strangers and laughs shared over witty signage, there was one interaction that will be stamped onto my heart for the rest of my existence. One father walked up to me and my sign to read it aloud to his young daughter. She couldn’t have been more than six years old, so he raised her up on his shoulder to say: “Look at that honey, read her sign. You must always remember that you are valuable, powerful and deserving of every opportunity.” She was my momentary brush with the future I stand for; without knowing, this little girl was the reason I marched.

I left the sea of protesters feeling humbled and eager to share my experience. Seeing the pictures of my friends at different marches across the country filled me with even more hope. I wasn’t surprised to see negativity on my social media pages from readers. As a woman, a journalist and human being, I will never apologize for speaking out for what I believe is right. If you’re a woman who has beliefs outside of my own, I will STILL march for you each and every opportunity.

So let me unapologetically let the reasons I march be known:

  • I march for women because we deserve to be worth the same value as a man. Our bodies are our own and we should not neglect women’s health and turn away from organizations that offer affordable birth control, STD testings, breast exams and so much more.
  • I march for my fellow survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault who have looked to our government for protection, guidance, counseling, and JUSTICE during the most difficult and isolated moments of our lives—lives we almost lost and fought vigorously for. I march for the women like me who fought in courtroom after courtroom to make it known that no one has the right to harm them, especially a man. My fight is one that I have not told many of you and one day will. Speaking up about violence, let alone escaping and taking steps to prosecute, is a huge challenge for women who have been trapped into feeling afraid for their lives, a fear that can carry on for years after the abuse. The proposal to cut 25 domestic violence and sexual assault grants is not only a frightening trigger for survivors, but an egregious attack that coincides with the dark mentality violence is born from. I might be safe now, but what about the 1 in 3 who are not?
  • I march for my LGBTQ friends who fought for their right to marry and be their individual selves.
  • I march for my Muslim friends who suffer each day because of the way they look and the religion they practice.
  • I march for my friends of color who fear for their lives because of systemic racism; ones who’s parents marched to disband segregation.
  • I march as a journalist for free speech and freedom of the press to report on the TRUTH.
  • I march for people living with disabilities, like my Down Syndrome nephew Jaedenwho could teach the world about kindness more than any bully who calls him a “retard.”
  • I march for you.

Will you stand with me?

Have a personal Womens March story? Share it in the comments below. Please also consider checking out and donating to the following organizations:

ACLU

Anti-Defamation League

She Should Run

Planned Parenthood (To the naysayers, please look at the services they offer; there are a lot more than what you think)

Houston Area Women’s Center

 

Photo by Kendall Hanna

Photo by Kendall Hanna

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