Sunday, January 22, 2017

Why I Didn't March Yesterday

Here in Denver, more than 100,000 people marched yesterday, and I was not one of them. Not because I hadn’t heard about the march. I’d been hearing about this event for weeks and knew a number of women who planned to march on January 21, many with family members and other friends. I knew similar marches were scheduled across the country, and I knew people who were planning to attend them as well, some even traveling to Washington, D.C., to make sure they were part of what promised to be a historic event.

But I held back for reasons I thought made sense at the time. My biggest concern was that I didn’t think I’d know why I was marching. Civil Rights activists had very specific reasons to march – and did so despite the fact they risked very real threats that could land them not only in jail but in the hospital or even the morgue. Yet they marched, and often suffered for it, and forced changes in our country’s laws that would make a huge difference for generations to come.

But I held back. What, exactly, was this march supposed to accomplish? What difference would it make? Was this just a show of force to try to make a vague point while marchers poked fun at a new administration they didn’t support?

Yesterday, my questions were answered by the photos and videos that flooded Facebook and most media outlets. Whatever their individual reasons were for marching, yesterday’s marchers as a whole made a very succinct point about the power of the people. The marches they attended effectively alerted politicians that the people are now paying attention, and the people are no longer going to sit back and just hope things work out according to their wishes. Instead, the people are going to voice their opposition when policymakers plan to pass laws that go against what the people – whose tax dollars pay for those policymakers’ salaries and benefits packages – believe is right.

The good news for Americans of all backgrounds and political bents is that this message applies to all of us. Regardless of what you think about the current administration or the 1.5 million people who marched yesterday across the country and around the world, I hope you take this message to heart.

You have a voice that deserves to be heard. Whether you’re raising a sign in a march or calling or writing to a politician you suspect has never cared about your opinion, you have the right to voice it. Now is the time to acknowledge this message and act on it. Plug in your zip code on and click through on each name that shows up to get a phone number and address. Click through to the listed website to see if an email address is posted. Do whatever you need to do to prepare yourself for the days ahead when pending legislation crops up that you want your representative to vote for or against.

You have a voice that deserves to be heard. Let this message ring true for you. While Americans may be divided on many issues, on this point we must stand strong. We the people have too much at stake to be complacent any longer – for any reason.

While I admit to feeling hopeless and being very complacent since the election, I now have hope that my actions can make a difference, and I’m grateful to everyone who marched yesterday for giving hope to so many of us who could not – or chose not to – join you on what turned out indeed to be a truly historic day.

Please know we heard your message loud and clear, and many of us have taken it to heart. More importantly, we will do everything we can to act on it.


Blogger kristen spina said...

Well-said, Karen. I marched. Not for any one reason, but for so many reasons. Some easy to express via slogan or catchphrase, and others a little more complex and messy. I think if I had to pick any one thing, I would say I marched because I refuse to align with the alternate universe of an administration that does not believe in facts, education, the law, science or human rights. So yeah, it's complicated, but yesterday was a beautiful thing. The world is watching.

11:17 AM  
Blogger Sustenance Scout said...

It really is, Kristen.

3:59 PM  

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