Why I March and Why Marching Isn't Enough

January 23, 2017

10,000 people gathered yesterday in Santa Cruz to stand united in support of equality, women’s rights, human rights, love and acceptance, the environment, and so much more. Millions marched all over the world in support of all people, regardless of gender, race, income, sexual preference, or religion. 

I am proud to have been one of the 10,000 here in Santa Cruz and one of the millions across the world who vowed not to accept what I cannot change, but to change what I cannot accept.

We cannot accept discrimination and hate. 

We cannot accept the dismantling of Planned Parenthood and a loss of access to safe forms of birth control and abortion. 

We cannot accept the shaming and belittling of women’s bodies. 

We cannot accept a denial of climate change, the loss of protection for our national parks, and the destruction of the environmental policies we’ve fought so hard for.  

We cannot accept the blatant racism that still permeates nearly every corner of our country. 

We cannot accept the exclusion of our sisters and brothers that come to the U.S. seeking a new and better life as our very own ancestors did not so long ago.

As I looked around me at the sea of pink hats and hand-painted signs bobbing through the crowd marching steadily up Pacific Avenue, I felt buoyed along not only by the crowd but also by the feeling of hope and the start of something truly ground shaking. 

Chants of “The people, united, will never be divided!” rippled through the sea of marchers, like a slow, lumbering wave, rolling through lines of women, children, and men and gaining strength and momentum with every added voice. Then the chant would fade away until another passionate, bold soul again started the chant. 

Cheers would sporadically erupt from the crowd, spurred usually by an onlooker’s encouraging remark. The energy ebbed and flowed and I couldn't help wondering, 'Will our passion for this cause ebb in the days after the march?'

Photo by Mark Dixon

Photo by Mark Dixon

The energy ebbed and flowed and I couldn't help wondering, 'Will our passion for this cause ebb in the days after the march?'

I was there, chanting, cheering when others cheered, pumping my fist in the air, and yet I couldn’t shake a feeling of uncertainty and doubt. 

What was I marching for? What did I hope to achieve? Awareness? A revolution? Policy change? Peace? A new and better world for my generation and for generations to come? 

How would this mass gathering of people achieve any of these things? Why would a man who seems to care only for himself let a group of liberal women direct his policies now that he’s gained ultimate power? And yet, we are a democracy. Our government has to listen to we, the people, right?

The outcome may yet be unclear, but still, we march

These doubts kept creeping in but whether or not I felt sure of the outcome, I knew I had to march.  

I had to march because I can’t just lie back and accept a president who condones sexual abuse, racism, the dismantling of women’s rights, and the destruction of the environment. I had to march to remind myself that I’m not alone; women and all other minorities are not alone.

I march to feel connected to something greater than myself, to be a part of a movement that has been steadily moving forward since the founding of our country, but whose progress is now at risk of being reversed. 

I march for all the strong women in my life that have made me proud to be female.

I march for my mother and for her mother, I march for my younger sister, for my kid cousins, for my older cousins, for my aunts, for the girlfriends that accept me and love me for who I am, for all the strong women in my life that have made me proud to be female.

Although many have questioned the goal of the Women’s March, there’s no denying that it felt like the start of a revolution. 500,000 marchers gathered in D.C. on January 21st compared to only 250,000 for Trump’s inauguration. The images of protesters gathering on the same day, for the same cause, across 6 continents from cities all over the United States to major cities in countries like Germany, France, Poland, Russia, Australia, the Netherlands, and Ghana are a testament to the power of the people, if we take action.

The march was a huge success but it’s only the beginning. Now it’s time to do the hard, less rewarding work of fighting back for the next four years. We cannot lose momentum and we cannot lose hope. We may not always have thousands of supporters marching alongside us, but we must still make the effort to take action in our everyday lives if we are to be taken seriously and have our voices heard.

How to make our voices heard

So, what can you do? How can we keep fighting?

Write your senator.

Join your local government or support those in your local government who are fighting for equality and have everyone’s well-being at heart.

Join an Indivisible Group in your area and work with others to push back against Trump’s divisive agenda.

Boycott this list of companies that sell Trump merchandise or support the Trump administration.  

Take 10 Actions in the first 100 Days.

Show your government that the people have a voice and it will not be silenced.

This is our country, these are our rights, and it’s up to us to protect them. As Barack Obama said, “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” 

And as Gloria Steinem said in her speech at the Women’s March in D.C., 

“We will not be quiet, we will not be controlled, we will work for a world in which all countries are connected. We’re staying together. And we’re taking over. We’re never turning back.” 

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