Wanna know what makes America “great”? Being able to march and protest for our rights. I was initially not going to participate in the “Women’s March” in NYC because of what I had seen in DC in the media, but it did not sit right with me to stay home. As the saying goes, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have taken the side of the oppressor”. When I marched this Saturday on 5th Avenue, I didn’t see riots, looting, or any hate that has been overly showcased in the media. I was surrounded by Americans who believe in equality, human rights, love, and democracy. People were chanting, playing instruments, complementing signs, and simply lifting each other up. Since Election Day, I’ve met so many others on my side, but marching with thousands of other New Yorkers and people from around the country was one of the most uplifting experiences of my life!
I’ve encountered far too many individuals who ask, “What’s the point?” The reason the Women’s March even exist is because A) we are still making between 15-45% less than their male coworkers, B) we are being taxed on basic, feminine needs, and C) we’re constantly treated like a 2nd class citizen. Sound like a broken record? Well, perhaps that’s the only way it will get through society’s heads. I’m forced to walk home every night to my apartment, gripping my pepper spray, in fear of being assaulted while men do not have that fear. The fact that my parents are scared of what might happen to their daughter in New York, while that fear would be less if they had a son. Because when a woman reports a sexual assault, she’s immediately questioned and asked how SHE could’ve prevented it. The fact that out of 1000 rapes, 994 of those men will walk free. However, women have it “good” in the US. Other, less fortunate countries are dealing with women being sold as sex slaves (which, less often, also happens in the US), arranged in marriages with men 2-3 times her age, and murdered for even speaking her mind. THAT’S why this protest exists; so that we can provide a voice for women who are unable to have one.
We marched because, in this world, being born a woman is like being born with a curse. You’re either too this or too that. If a woman dresses “too revealing” and spends “too much time” on her appearance, she will not be taken seriously. But if she is covered, wears little to no makeup, and focuses less on her outward appearance, she’s considered less of a woman. If she does not speak her mind, she gets walked all over. If she speaks her mind, she is accused of being a “feminazi”.
We march because the Woman’s Suffrage Movement was clearly not enough to establish equality. The most eye-opening experiences of the march was meeting an older woman who said, “I did this in the 1970s. Why are we still here?” When I’m that woman’s age, I don’t wish to say, “I did this in 2017. Why are we still here?” but to say “We’ve come so far, and I was a part of it!”
The Women’s March should not just be a day of marching down 5th Avenue in NYC, Independence Avenue in DC, or Cumberland Park in Nashville. We must keep marching every day and throughout the world. We must keep marching not just for women but for humans of all genders, races, sexual orientations, and religions who are treated as second-class citizens. We keep marching by being an ally to each other (and not by wearing those silly safety pins!) We must have the courage and confidence to stand up to those who degrade others. Along with showing compassion and understanding when someone informs us of an injustice act, it’s our job to take proper action such as confronting the individual or, if severe, informing authorities. No questions asked.
I have always been shy and hesitant to speak my mind and stand up for myself. However, I am so blessed to live in a country where I have the freedom to use my voice for change. I’ve learned that no one is too small, young, or unestablished to make a change.
I have no fear of our leadership because from what I’ve seen from my millions of supportive brothers and sisters, we are a strong nation held together by strength, hope, and love. We cannot and will not be moved!
“Live in harmony with one another.” – Romans 12:16