#WhyIMarch

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. 16195372_10158022158505648_4129778015161917278_n

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.

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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.

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