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.
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.
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