Guest Article- Two Area Women Describe Their Women’s March Experience
Why I march?
I march for women's health, because I believe that education, prevention, testing, and annual checkups along with responsible birth control options prevent the need for abortion. Right now the health insurance that my husband and I pay thousands for does not cover birth control but does cover Viagra. To get good annual exams and a reasonable cost for birth control I went to Planned Parenthood for 10 years until they shut it down. Now rates of STD’s and unplanned pregnancies in our area...
...are on the rise. These services are important to women and families and it is irresponsible to shut them down
I march for the quality and importance of my children's educational system and the teachers who teach them, because education is the only way out of poverty and violence.
I march for environmental concerns, specifically dependency on and corruption of the fossil fuel industry and its effects on my region. I march for protection of my environment including protection of natural resources like air and water. I'm worried about protecting Great Lakes Watersheds. I'm worried about failing infrastructure including aging oil and gas pipelines, and aging water pipes.
I march for the better treatment of fellow human beings, including immigrants, because I see them getting used as scapegoats. I'm worried about the direction our government is going and if I sit home and grumble to myself, no one will hear my concerns. I can write letters, send emails, sign petitions and make calls...which I do, but it's easy to ignore all of those. It's really hard to ignore hundreds of thousands of fed up women showing up on your office doorstep.
I march to be seen and heard because even though I vote, I speak up, I get involved, I give back, and I keep myself educated the political system is still failing me, so I am becoming part of the system in all of the ways I know how.
This is my voice, and I will use it. Nothing will get better if we don't contribute to our communities, if we don't speak up for those who can't, if we don't speak up for ourselves and what is right.
I want to start out saying that my participation in the Women's March on DC had nothing to do with being a "sore loser," as some have suggested. It's that the person who has become president of the United States has been openly sexist, racist, a bigot, and is a self-admitted sexual predator.
I initially decided to march because I want my 16 year old son to always know that no matter his or others the position of power, women are not objects to be grabbed, touched, groped, or fondled without permission.
I heard about the Women's March on DC via Facebook a few days after the election. I knew right then that I wanted to participate and I called my friends and coworkers to join. We traveled with a group organized by Fountain Street Church from Grand Rapids to DC on one of five charter buses they secured.
After more than 11 hours on the bus we arrived at a DC Metro station at 6am with very little sleep and no coffee but we were wild with enthusiasm. Once we were at the Women's March I realized that our cause was so much more than just the one issue that had sparked my interest initially. This is about access to women's reproductive healthcare, the environment, equal pay, living wages, LGBT protection, and against marginalizing the poor and elderly populations.
While marching was cathartic it also helped me feel empowered to make change locally and inspired me to become an involved citizen in this community. After an 11hr bus ride home and even less sleep my enthusiasm had grown and desire to make change was at an all time high. To maintain that momentum I have joined the Newaygo Co. Democratic Party because of their grassroots ideology and deep commitment to our community.
I realized there are fundamental human rights at stake. Without action, our country may be reversing important policies and agendas we have worked years to change. Standing together and getting involved is more important than ever.
My takeaways from the trip:
1. There is an age (I believe 21) when cramming oneself on a bus is not as fun as you imagine it will be.
2. Making a playlist for your travels is only cool if you play it
3. When packing for a march, less is more.
4. Have no expectations, just go with the flow
5. Know that you can make a difference.
6. Finally, I believe we have more in common than not. We all want clean air & water, healthy families, good paying jobs, love and respect for our community.
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