The energy and power palpable in the air in the Bay Area Women’s Marches was undeniable and exhilarating. My cousin and I met up with friends at the Oakland march in the morning, then because of a burrito stop in the Mission, found ourselves unable to resist going to the San Francisco march in the late afternoon.
The drumming, dancing, chanting, cheering, marching and sign-ogling created a joyful, and empowering atmosphere of resistance. I loved the pink pussy hats, the children with posters and the elderly women signs reading, “I can’t believe I STILL have to fight this sh-!” I loved spending the day with family and close friends. I loved marching with the baby girl growing inside my belly. I loved marching at night, in the rain.
I love that Andy took Carter to the Redwood City rally, where his brother’s band performed on the bill with Joan Baez. We covered almost all the Bay Area demonstrations in our family.
I loved watching videos of marches all around the world. Inauguration was a day of fear, disbelief and anguish. Friday, the nation’s clocks were set back a few generations. Yesterday was a day of hope. I felt a renewed confidence in humanity. We will keep pushing forward.
Online, someone asked me why I marched. The reasons are almost too many to list, and seem to grow every day. But, it was a good question and one that deserves an answer. This is a stream of consciousness attempt to answer that question – it’s a scratch on the surface. Let’s talk sometime.
I march because I believe in human rights and civil rights. I march because I am a woman of color. I march because Black Lives Matter. I march because too few people acknowledge the pervasive, unjust and often deadly role that race plays in every social institution from education to criminal justice to health care to media to housing. I march because Trump’s campaign and leadership has stoked fear, hatred and violence against people of color, immigrants, women, disabled people, Muslims and other religious believers.
I march because I’m sick of hearing Black and brown people blamed for every social and economic ill. I march because urban communities are not the hell-holes of darkness and death Trump describes. I march because people of color are marginalized, criminalized and dehumanized – and then blamed for it by those in power.
I march because I’m appalled by the rhetoric used to divide people who should stand united. I march because dividing poor whites from people of color is a power tactic used throughout history to ensure that wealthy whites in power maintain the status quo – and it is clearly working again.
I march because I am the daughter of immigrants. I march because we live in a nation built by immigrants; we should celebrate and protect their rights and families. I march for students who live in fear of being torn from parents. I march for the Dream Act and DACA. I march because immigrants are not criminals, Mexicans are not rapists, and refugees are not terrorists. I march because we should welcome those in need with open arms.
I march because our criminal justice system is broken. I march because mass incarceration is Jim Crow resurrected. I march because Black and brown men make up a disproportionately large proportion of the prison population. I march because there is no justice in the system.
I march because I have fought to create equitable education systems for the last ten years. I march because our education system fails teachers and students alike. I march because appointing Betsy DeVos – a billionaire who contributed over $200 million dollars to Trump, but has never attended public school, has never taken out a student loan, will not definitively say children with disabilities should receive equitable access to education, will not say guns have no place in schools, wants to privatize education, cannot answer the most basic questions about education, and does not have the qualifications to be hired in a school– as Secretary of Education will destroy the lives of millions of children.
I march because climate change is real. I march because we must protect our planet and its resources. I march because the Dakota Access Pipeline should never cross Native lands. I march because water is life. I march because denying climate change to pursue short-term profits will destroy the environment in ways we will not be able to fix.
I march because everyone needs health care no matter their “pre-existing conditions.” I march because dismantling Obamacare without an alternative solution will kick millions of people off of their much-needed health care.
I march because I am a woman. I march because I demand equity in the workplace, recognition of my voice, and value in society beyond my physical appearance or relationship with men. I march because I want to break the glass ceiling. I march against the patriarchy. I march because I demand more family leave and changes to workplace culture. I march because I support Planned Parenthood. I march because preventing abortion means supporting access to contraception and health care. I march because I believe in choice and I trust women to make their own.
I march because I support equal rights for my LGBT family. I march because conversion therapy is a horror future generations will look back on with disgust and disbelief. I march because one’s gender and/or sexual identity is a beautiful thing, not a threat to the moral fabric of the universe. I march because love is love is love is love is love. Period.
I march because I fight against a Cabinet filled with unqualified people– predominantly white men – with little expertise in their appointed positions and dangerously unethical backgrounds. I march against Steven Bannon, a self-proclaimed leader of the white supremacist (euphemistically the “alt-right”) movement, a man who promotes racist, xenophobic, anti-Semitic news and ideas. I march against Jeff Sessions, a man whose record of racism and hate speech nearly derailed his career, who does not believe climate change is an issue, opposed legislation that would end inhumane treatment of detainees, who believes immigrants create cultural issues, and who voted against the Violence Against Women Act three times. I march against Scott Pruitt, a proponent of the fossil fuel industry, a climate change skeptic, and a man who has spent his career suing the Environmental Protection Agency, the organization he has been nominated to lead. I march against Ben Carson, Rex Tillerson, Mike Pompeo, and every other man with massive conflicts of interest, no experience, or views opposing the very organizations they aspire to direct.
I march against Presidential conflicts of interest. I march because a President with complex webs of business, but refuses to place them in a genuine blind trust, who involves his children – who lead his company – in meetings with foreign leaders is beyond problematic. I march against nepotism. I march against a man who continues to put personal interests ahead of the American people.
I march because I take hope in the fact that Hillary Clinton earned nearly three million more popular votes than Trump. I march because I support voting rights. I march against the gerrymandering and vote suppression that silenced our voices. I march against Russian interference with our democratic processes and the lies and silence the new regime uses to cover it up.
I march because I believe in facts. I march because a President who wages a war on truth – who consistently, blatantly lies about easily verifiable facts– who encourages his followers to disbelieve anyone that doesn’t agree with their opinions is a dangerous demagogue posing as a democratic leader. I march because silencing the media and punishing dissent is the beginning of an authoritarian regime that threatens democracy. I march because as Dan Rather wrote, “Facts and the truth are not partisan. They are the bedrock of our democracy. And you are either with them, with us, with our Constitution, our history, and the future of our nation, or you are against it. Everyone must answer that question.”
I march because I believe Trump is an immoral, immature bully who cares more about self-aggrandizement than anything else. His own history and words show how callously he dispenses with others; he unapologetically stokes racism, xenophobia, sexism, discrimination, hatred and bigotry. I march because he is a threat to the values, beliefs, people and principles that I hold dear.
I march because I know history. I march because we are following a historically predictable pattern that descends into dark times. I march because I believe we have the power to stop the pattern.
I march because I follow Jesus Christ. I march because he teaches love, equity, mercy, compassion and justice, and I believe we should seek for these ideals in our world. I march because social justice and the gospel of Christ are one language.
I march for my children. I march so my children will know how to fight back against injustice and oppression. I march so my children will know they have the power to create positive change in the world. I march because I am determined to create that change in the world now.
I march because I have hope.
Oakland Women’s March
San Francisco Women’s March