On Jan. 21, I gathered with approximately 100,000 other concerned citizens to participate in the Women’s March in Seattle.
It was a day of camaraderie, energy, peaceful protest and resistance. My best friend and I went together and each brought along one of our sons. I couldn’t have asked for a better day. The spirit was palpable and I felt hopeful that the day’s momentum would buoy me as the new administration began to enact policy. Millions of men, women and children had taken to the streets in cities across the globe to prove that our voices were strong and that we would not be silent.
As the high of the day wore off, I was surprised to be confronted with many questions about why I marched. Both social media strangers and real-life friends questioned how the new president’s policies could affect my life. Over and over, I felt as though I had to justify my participation. But my voice became stronger and clearer, and helped me take my position in this resistance.
This is why I marched:
I marched so your daughters can have the same opportunities as my sons. I marched to eliminate the wage gap, where a woman’s work is worth 80 cents on the dollar compared to a man’s. I marched so my two sons can grow up with empowered and equal women in their schools, workplaces and society.
I marched so my gay, lesbian and transgender brothers and sisters are guaranteed the same legal protection as my husband and I. I marched so their love will be honored like mine. I marched so LGBTQ children and teenagers are able to grow up in a world that celebrates the person God intended them to be.
I marched to ensure my neighbors who benefit from the Affordable Care Act and utilize the services of Planned Parenthood have the same access to affordable and safe health care as my family. I marched so women can have control over their bodies and make their own medical and reproductive decisions.
I marched for Mother Earth and the very real threat we face in climate change. I marched for environmental regulations that protect us. I marched to ensure that my children’s grandchildren will have a healthy planet to carry out this work.
I marched to end the public-health crisis we face in gun violence. I marched because gun violence is a women’s issue. I marched for universal background checks because they are the single best way to reduce domestic violence and law enforcement homicides.
I marched for the refugees and the immigrants. I marched because I understand the blessing of my birthplace and the privilege I’ve been afforded. I marched because I cannot fully comprehend the reality of escaping a war-torn country and facing resettlement in an unknown nation. I marched to preserve our nation of immigrants and to honor the melting pot that makes our country unique.
I marched for my children. I marched so they know their mom worked her hardest for justice and stood up for the rights of others. I marched so they will learn that when our neighbors’ lives are improved, we too are better off. I marched to instill in them a patriotic sense of duty to this great nation we call home.
Meredith Browand is a mother and activist living in Purdy.