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Why I March

Glenda Helms

 

       I woke up in the middle of the night after the election feeling sick, as if my world had crashed and I could see no way out of the wreckage.  A man had won the election that I was terrified of.  He had made fun of a disabled reporter, trashed the parents of a deceased Muslim soldier, called Hispanic immigrants criminals and drug dealers, and called women fat pigs.  To top that off, he said that he had groped women without their consent because he knew they wouldn't say anything, as he was rich and famous.  This man was our new president?

I am normally not a particularly political person.  If someone asked who I voted for, I would remain closed mouthed, preferring to remain quiet about it.  My candidate lost about as often as won.  I might be disappointed for a while, but I would quickly go on about my business.  This time, however, was different.  This time I could not keep quiet.  My moral values were at stake.

I live in a very conservative community where only about 11% of the population voted for Hillary.  Do I feel isolated and looked down upon?  Absolutely!  I have been blocked from the social media accounts of some friends and family.  And frankly, it feels a little frightening to voice my opinion at all.

I chose to join the Women's March in Austin, Texas, not because I'm a sore loser and a big baby; I joined because I felt my moral values were threatened.  I have to say I'm tired of hearing "get over it!"  No, I will not!  All we have to do is look back on our history to see that looking the other way and not standing up for what we believe is right can have far reaching repercussions.   

 So I marched!  It was fantastic, inspiring, and empowering.  Here were women of like mind who were there to hold their signs high and march for what they believed in.  There were grandmothers, middle-aged women, young women, and girls.  Men were there to support their sisters, mothers and daughters.  I saw Muslim women, black women, Hispanic women, and members of the LGBTQ community.  I felt a sisterhood, as we all accepted and understood one another.

The number of marchers far exceeded the 33,000 that were expected.  It ballooned to 75,000-100,000.  The sea of people on the capital's lawn slowly fed into the street.  It took an hour for my family to finally enter the street and begin our march, a mile and a half walk through downtown.  The marchers were peaceful, and spectators stood in solidarity holding their own signs as they stood on sidewalks or peered through office windows or parking garages.

I will continue to use my voice.  It is important to support all the women who have been sexually assaulted, for all people of color who are facing more empowered racism, for people of other faiths and beliefs who are facing discriminations, for LGBTQ people who are afraid that their hard won rights will be rescinded, and for the millions of people who are going to lose their insurance through ACA with no replacement in place.  It is vital that we continue to fight for human rights.  Americans cannot lose their compassion and acceptant of diversity.

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From the Great March in Washington D.C. to Atlanta, to Chicago to Seattle, to Downtown Los Angeles, and Internationally are saying: 

"No Rights No Peace"

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By TIFFANY GATTO

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