This weekend I was in DC for two historic events: the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States and the Women’s March on Washington. I did not attend the inauguration, but New York Avenue Presbyterian opened its doors to provide hospitality to those who did. I spent several hours there, drinking coffee and chatting with folks. We watched President Trump’s speech together, though some were more excited than others. I walked around downtown with friends to see what was happening in the city: there were protests in Franklin Square that turned violent, the McDonald’s I like to go to had its windows busted out, I observed police in riot gear throwing smoke bombs into crowds of protestors. It was a tense day in DC.
The general air of Friday left me nervous about Saturday, but from the minute I woke up I was surrounded by excitement. The energy was completely different. People were friendly, cheerful, and glad to be together.
The group of us who stayed at New York Avenue walked over to the starting point together. We ended up getting split up, but I was glad to take in the rally and march with a group of YAVs, YAV alums, and my best friend from Maryville who came up to be a part of it.
In the days leading up to the march, I loved following the #WhyIMarch hashtag. Reading those short snippets of someone’s story inspired me to think about the reasons why I was marching. Was it because I was angry about the election? Partly. Was is because I don’t respect Republicans? Absolutely not. Was it because I think the Republican party is horrible? Of course not. I did not march in the Women’s March because I am a democrat. I did not march in the Women’s March because I am “a brainwashed millennial,” like I have been called before.
Here’s why I marched:
- I marched because human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights.
- I marched because I believe that every person should be treated equally no matter their race, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic class, or political party.
- I marched because Donald Trump’s rhetoric and language he uses when talking about women genuinely causes me fear.
- I marched because I have been told that I will be a “lady pastor” instead of just a pastor.
- I marched because I want little girls to know that they can be president and little boys to know that rating a woman on a scale of 1-10 is not acceptable.
- I marched because the government doesn’t have the right to control my body, nor does any man no matter how famous he may be.
- I marched because most of the people in my life who raised me, who taught me that I am stronger than I think I am, who love me despite my imperfections, and who stick with me through all of life’s twists and turns are women.
- I marched because my faith in Jesus Christ taught me that love is an action verb, and that love has no borders. And I can’t truly say I love someone if I’m not going to do everything I can to fight for them.
- I marched because there have been too many times in my life that I felt I haven’t had a voice and being around 300,000+ women sharing their voices was inspiring.
I’m done with standing by and hoping that things will get better. My YAV year has taught me that I have a responsibility to be a part of the change, and I’m ready to own that responsibility. That’s #WhyIMarch.