I marched—something I've never done in my six decades, and I am so glad I did. I joined the approximately half a million women and men who descended on Washington, DC, last Saturday to stand up for human rights and make their voices heard.
Throughout the wonderful day filled with powerful energy and emotions and kindness, I heard the question asked, "Why are you here?"
The answers were as varied as the people attending, and even my own answer varied by the moment. For many of us, we were there because we believe in human rights. We believe everyone—male or female; rich or poor; young or old; black, brown or white; gay or straight—deserves respect and basic human rights.
I was there for many reasons:
- Health insurance. My husband and I will need to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act this year (if it still exists); I have preexisting conditions that may make it impossible to get insurance without the government regulations. I also want women to have coverage for mammograms and annual well checkups and contraception. I want women who don't get health benefits through their employers to have access to health insurance. I want women to be able to take care of their health and the health of their families.
- Reproductive rights. I want women to be able to make choices about their own bodies.
- Gay rights. I have many good friends who are gay and fear for their relationships and their well-being.
- Immigrant rights. I fear for immigrant families who don't know what will happen to them.
- Understanding global warming as truth. I live in a coastal city that is already experiencing the effects of global warming.
- My daughters. And I have two daughters—I want to protect and expand their rights, the same way women fought decades ago for my rights.
I don't know what will happen in the future, but I know it's important to stay vigilant about my rights and all human rights. So, what can we do next?
We must reach out to senators and congressmen.
We must read reliable news sources.
We must think about people other than ourselves and try to understand each other.
We must not forget why we marched. I know I won't!
For more ways to keep the momentum going, check out the Women's March website.