Just another women's march post

I didn't attend a women's march this last weekend, but I wanted to.

I spent the day with a dear friend who has encountered some rough patches in her life over the last six months. We spent the day hunkered inside talking and eating cookies while our kids played. We ate tacos together, and our kids asked (again) if we were all related. I wasn't at a march because a friend needed someone to sit with her, and even though the day was tinted with a bit of sadness as we acknowledged all she has so bravely endured, it was a good day, one of healing.

But if I had gone to a march, I would've waved signs, held hands with my friends, and shouted loudly.

I wanted to march as a way to protest the hateful rhetoric--particularly towards women--that fueled our new president's campaign.

I wanted to march because sexual assault is as common as white bread on grocery store shelves. I wanted to march for Kelsey, a woman I went to high school with, who was beaten and then murdered by her husband a few years ago. I wanted to march for the Hispanic woman who showed up at a shelter I volunteered at, her hands shaking, her kids crying, her face red and streaked with tears. I wanted to march for that one time back in 9th grade when I said no to a boy, but he did not respect my no. I wanted to march to show support for the millions of women in our country whose no is not respected.

I wanted to march for my daughter--a fiery girl with a competitive streak--my daughter who once had a near stranger say to her: "I bet you're bossy, aren't you?"

I wanted to march for one of my current students--a strong, single, Muslim mother of four kids who told me she feared for her daughters' safety as Muslim kids growing up in a small, Midwestern town.

I wanted to march for more fair treatment of women at work. For my friend who was once told by a colleague, "You should smile more."

I wanted to march for the women in my faith circle who have been belittled by men of faith, who have had their questions silenced and their gifts ignored.

I wanted to march for my son--a little boy who witnessed domestic violence at an early age. I wanted to show him all the strong men who show their strength not in how hard they can hit a woman, not in how much they can control a woman, but men who show their strength by marching alongside women.
My friend participated in the Omaha women's march. She sent me this picture; the sign says:
"I march for my mom, my grandma, my aunts, my cousins, my teachers, my friends, and for that girl over there that I don't even know. My future wife." 
I've seen a lot of negative feedback about the women's marches that happened this weekend, and it doesn't surprise me. There's always push back to protests and marches. What is incredibly disheartening are the many comments I read from strangers, acquaintances, and friends who say they don't understand the purpose of this march. Many believe that women are now equal to men (I mean, women can vote now, right? So what's the big deal?). Many (I think ignorantly) equated the women's march as a one-sided issue march: an attack on pro-life issues. Others asked what good a march would do? I mean, why not do something?

While women have many of the same legal rights as men, we are often not treated as such. The women's march was a multi-dimensional show of solidarity over the many, many issues that impact women today. Marches and protests have been important events in our culture. They can be incredible displays of unity and give folks a renewed strength to fight for justice. My friends who participated in these women's marches are amazing people who put their feet to the road on a daily basis helping others, who work tirelessly to raise kind kids (some of whom are not even their own); their participation in a women's march was just an added layer of advocacy.

I was not frightened by these marches. Instead, I was encouraged to see millions of women, men, and kids exercising their rights and marching around the world in a (mostly) peaceful display of solidarity, each with their own reasons. It was refreshing to see such unity despite how divided our nation and world seem to be lately. If you marched last weekend (or wanted to march): why did you? I'd love to hear your reasons!

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