In 1961 I was born into Camelot. The rhythm of my childhood was the drumbeat of the Civil Rights and Anti-Vietnam movements. My tween and teen years coincided with the Women’s Rights movement. Speaking for what’s right is just a part of who I am.
The early years of my adulthood were focused on career, marriage and family. I watched, and celebrated, as my neighborhood and town became an increasingly diverse culture. I sampled foods, holidays and music that I couldn’t previously imagine. It was wonderful.
I continued to enjoy, and teach my children to enjoy, the mosaic of our townspeople. This mosaic widened to include not just those who came from somewhere else or spoke another language, but added those who worship, love or self-define differently than I do. There is beauty in diversity.
That changed on September 11, 2001. I had to explain to my children, then 5 and 9, what had happened to our country. I began to see fear on the faces of my community.
The tone of the country changed again as my children entered their teen years. America elected a president who saw us, our nation, the way I had taught them to. They were safely covered with healthcare, given the opportunity to think and learn in public school, and (although a struggle) pay for a college education. We were lucky.
All of this is about to come crashing down. All of the civil, educational and health rights that were so hard fought for and won in my youth are threatened by the in-coming administration. I am again seeing fear on my neighbors’ faces. I will not stand by and let this happen.
That is why I will be marching in Trenton on Saturday, January 21.
On January 21 around 200,000 people are planning to take part in the Women’s March on Washington, along with people in many cities across the U.S. and even abroad. I will attend one of these marches, and would like to share with my neighbors my reasons for doing so.
Since the election, hate crimes and hate speech are on the rise. Hate for our fellow citizens is a direct threat to democracy. I love my country, and the democratic spirit that gave birth to it. Anyone who feels the same, no matter what political party they belong to, needs to speak out against the hate that has seeped into our political process, and affirm the right to “equal protection under the laws” guaranteed by the 14th Amendment.
In addition, throughout the campaign, I heard a steady stream of hurtful and disgusting words about women from Donald Trump and a small segment of his supporters, culminating in the infamous recording of Trump’s boasts of grabbing women by the genitals. It seems that some people and some politicians are operating under the notion that women don’t care if you insult or assault them. I will be marching on the 21st to correct this misperception. Women are here, and we are watching and listening to our representatives, and they will pay the political consequences if they keep treating us in this way.
On Saturday, January 21, I will join hundreds of other women from my neighborhood on a day-long journey to Washington DC. And I am eager to be a part of this action. Because I will march for women, including my daughters and their future daughters. And yes, I will march for my son too, because equal rights benefit everyone.
You see, many in our country still need to understand that human rights are women’s rights and vice versa. So, I will march to state that women deserve more than being demeaned and objectified by their leaders. And I will march to proclaim that women deserve equal pay, as well as access to reproductive health care. Indeed, I will march to let the world know that I am here, I vote, and I care about women’s rights. I care about all human rights.
So the pundits can dismiss me as a ‘sissy’ and brand me a ‘sore loser,’ but I know why I’m marching. And I know we still have much work to do.
The writer is a research consultant for AgriArk, a start-up in Hopewell, and a parent volunteer for the Littlebrook and John Witherspoon schools in Princeton.