I Will March

Today in the US is a holiday – a recognition of the birth of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., civil rights hero and activist, possibly most well-known for marching on Washington DC and telling the world that he had a dream.

MLK Marches on Washington DC

MLK Marches on Washington DC

I, like many others around this country, am also preparing to take part in a march. On January 21st I will march with my 3 sisters, my niece, friends, neighbors, and strangers in Washington, DC. And I keep getting asked why. Why? Why are you marching? What do you think you’ll accomplish?

Perhaps a fair question. What can I accomplish? Not much, I suppose. But to me, the marching isn’t about accomplishing something. Marching is about being seen. Marching is about being heard. I don’t think I will accomplish much at all (other than the crocheting of 5 hot pink hats with kitty ears). But I am taking part in something that is bigger than myself, bigger than my small life and my small concerns.

I’m marching for the ACA (Affordable Care Act/Obamacare), which I don’t have, but my conservative Republican mother relies on her healthcare. I’m marching to protect the VA from privatization, which my conservative Republican veteran father relies on for his healthcare. I’m marching so that my 7-year-old niece will know that she never has to accept what those in power deem to be her “share” of rights and bodily autonomy. I’m marching so that my sister, who almost died from a traumatic miscarriage, will never be accused of intentionally harming the fetus and being legally charged (as some women have been) for bearing this oh-so-common tragedy. I’m marching for the millions of people on ACA who have finally had access to healthcare for the first time in years. I’m marching for girls and women I don’t know and will never meet, who have the right to be masters of their own bodies.

MLK Memorial

MLK Memorial

I’ve seen a tweet going around, from Lauren Morrill. She stated so well what I’ve struggled to explain, “I don’t now how to explain to you why you should care about other people.” I’m marching because this is how I can show that I care.

I care about you who tell me proudly that you don’t care about politics, often said to me with an air of superiority, as if I’m dirty, tainted for getting involved. I care deeply, and I will march to protect you, even as I am vilified for it.

Of course I’m marching for myself, as well. I’m a woman. I’m a queer person. I’m a survivor of sexual assault. I stand to lose much, but many others stand to lose much more. I’m not going to look at the loss of my candidate, shrug my shoulders, suck it up, and move on. I’m going to call. I’m going to write. I’m going to sign petitions. I’m going so speak up. And I’m going to march. For me. And for you.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.” -MLK

Kalliope

Kalliope is the youngest of four sisters. She loves baking, travelling, coding, reading, and learning new languages.

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10 Responses

  1. Carolyn Nielsen says:

    I will march in Boston to celebrate our collective right of free speech and the right of assembly. I will march especially for the marginalized and the fearful. I will march for courageous personal expression and open minds. I will march in gratitude that my conscience insist that I not sit still.

    • Kalliope says:

      Thank you for moving and shaking and marching! I’m happy to see so many sister marches around the country and the world!

  2. K says:

    I will be in DC with you. Thank you for putting into words some of what I am feeling but haven’t yet been able to convey to my friends and family. [I especially love that quote- “I don’t now how to explain to you why you should care about other people.”]
    And I have even felt scared and ashamed to tell others that I’m traveling to DC to do this. I guess I’m learning all the time to stand more courageously for what I really believe in; stand in power and been seen and heard.

    • Kalliope says:

      I understand, K. I am new in my job (2 months) and have been tentative in mentioning my plans. I work in DC, and many people are getting away, going on vacation to escape, however briefly. But I’m proud to be staying, proud to be marching, crocheting hats, opening my home to 6 extra people who are also traveling to be here. I’ve noticed that the more courageous I act, the more courageous I feel! Thank you for coming!

  3. Patty says:

    I am marching in Sacramento with my daughter and a friend. This feels like a tipping point in our history and I feel I must do everything I can to see that this push toward tyranny and cruelty is resisted. If we fail, I don’t want my lack of effort to have been part of the reason.

    • Kalliope says:

      Thank you, Patty! I’ve often wondered whether, had I been alive during the civil rights era, if I would have been brave and bold enough to march. Would I have been moved enough by the pain of others to stand up, use my (white) privilege in aid of others? Thank you for standing!

  4. Emily U says:

    I feel badly that I’m not marching in Chicago, it was much more doable to march against attacking Iraq in 2003 because I didn’t have kids back then.

    I did think of a way to show a little resistance this weekend, however. I got a group of 10 singers together and we’re going to sing that wonderful spiritual “I Shall Not Be Moved” in sacrament meeting. For those who have no problem with this president they can simply hear the message that we’re anchored in Jehovah. For those that do, there’s a double meaning. Hopefully everyone who ears it will be fed by the good word.

  5. Liz says:

    I am so late to this post (just catching up after a whirlwind couple of weeks!), but it expresses so much of what I felt when I marched. I marched for many of the same reasons – because I wanted to show up, I wanted to show other people that I care for them, and as a physical memory of a commitment I’m making to be more vocal and more active in fighting for the things I believe in (which, now that I think about it, feels like the symbolic ordinances we accompany our covenants with). I didn’t expect for the event to feel so holy, though. It really, really did, and this post really resonates with me for why. It was about showing love, for those I know, and those I don’t.

    Thanks for this, Kalliope.

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