On Saturday I had the privilege of gathering in Louisville with 5,000 other activists to rally in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington and the global protest for women’s rights.
I am proud to know that many of my friends across the country were marching as well, though I know many of my friends were at best confused, and at worst frustrated, by the demonstration.
I suppose that this post comes a few days late for the Women’s March on Washington and years late for those who have marched for decades. But, I want make clear why I choose to join in a march and in a movement that is (generalizing here) often, sadly, mocked by the Right and belittled by those of faith.
It should be clarified that regardless of what my own personal reasons for marching were, the demonstration did have an official platform that can be read here. The entirety of the platform was birthed in intersectionality – the concept of overlapping or intersecting social identities and related systems of oppression, domination, or discrimination. That means that an event formed for women’s rights cannot ignore race or class or sexuality. Fighting for one means fighting for all in a world of intersecting social identities.
And so I march.
I march, foremost, because women’s right are human rights. I don’t need to be, love, or know a single, solitary woman to care deeply for those rights.
I march because patriarchy is not God’s plan for humanity. Women are equally endowed by our Creator with unalienable rights, they are equally valuable in the eyes of Jesus.
I march because I am a feminist – by definition, someone who believes in the political, social, and economic equality of the sexes.
I march for my friends who have been sexually abused – those who hold that in secret, in confidence, or in public.
I march for those who are afraid that their would-be abusers are emboldened by the rhetoric of those who hold the highest offices.
I march because I want to be a part of creating a society that does not shame a victim for their assault, does not treat women’s bodies as public property, and treats sexual assault with the gravitas it deserves.
I march for those who have been shamed for their reproductive health choices. Regardless of society’s opinions one way or another, may we not make assumptions about the motivations behind and choices women make with their bodies.
I march for those who have been shamed for their sexuality. May we not take one step back into the closet.
I march because I mourn with those who fear losing access to their healthcare because of the decisions of the wealthy and the powerful. I march in hopes that healthcare costs would not be determined by what increases shareholder profit but by what is best for people.
I march for those who are terminally ill, for those with pre-existing conditions, and for those who have not had adequate access to affordable healthcare prior to the Affordable Care Act.
I march because feminine healthcare needs should not be an extra expense to be budgeted for, but should be covered by insurance companies. Taking care of and living in the bodies we were born with should not be a financial burden.
I march because racism still exists, mass incarceration still exists, racial profiling still exists, the school to prison pipeline still exists. I march in protest of a president who finds “stop and frisk” to be a conventional, crime-reducing method of law enforcement.
I march in protest of my own implicit racial bias.
I march alongside our Native American friends. May we hear your stories and cease our attacks on your land.
I march because black lives matter. I march because all lives cannot matter until black lives matter.
I march because we are a nation of immigrants that is better when we come together. I march to celebrate our differences in protest of those who would use our diversity to divide us.
I march because Muslim Americans, and Jewish Americans, and Buddhist Americans, and Hindu Americans, and all those of different belief systems deserve the same protection under the law as Christianity.
I march because the world doesn’t change by exchanging pleasantries and we need to move from a society of armchair activists to those who show up and say “not on my watch!”