So My Daughters Can See What Peaceful Marches for Justice Look Like

For weeks, I had been contemplating marching in the Women's March; however, I was still on the fence. This would be my first ever March and being the careful, overly-analytical person that I am, I wanted to be clear before God and myself on reasons and motivations for marching. I wanted it to be clear to my daughters, too.

So, surprisingly, it was my 10-year-old's reaction to the topic of the March that tipped the scale in my decision to participate. I have 3 daughters (ages 10, 9, and 4) and in our house, we have had intentional conversations about what it means to love God and love neighbor. We've had conversations about racism and systemic racism in our society. We've had conversations about the ways LGBT individuals have been treated in our society and in our churches. We've had conversations about refugees and the fear-mongering around those with Muslim faith beliefs.

So, when I brought up the topic of the March to my 10 and 9-year-old daughters, I was a bit taken aback by my 10-year-old's immediate reaction. She said, "But I don't want to get shot at a march." Surprised, I inquired further and discovered she had immediately thought of images she has seen in the media, in books, at school, of police officers shooting protestors with water cannons.

And then it occurred to me, while we have had intentional conversations about so many of these important topics, we had not had direct and intentional conversations about the role of marches and protest in our country. She had never seen images of peaceful protest; however, her young memory had already begun to fill with images of violence at protests. That was the tipping point for me.

It is a conversation that is just beginning and I, also, have much to learn, but I do not want my children to be afraid to stand up for what they believe in. Honestly, it was also a moment to look inward and admit that I too, am often afraid, if not for physical or bodily violence, then afraid that I will be misunderstood, especially if I join in a march or protest that doesn't perfectly align with all of my personal opinions or beliefs.

I am marching to show my daughters what it looks like to stand in solidarity with diverse others for basic human rights. I believe that all peoples (women, people of color, people of different faith beliefs, immigration status, sexual/gender minorities, etc.) should be treated with dignity because we are ALL image-bearers of God. I also believe that as Christ-followers, it is important to show up.

I am hoping that this march will be peaceful, so that my girls can see what peaceful and non-violent marches for equality and justice look like; so they can see that police officers are present to indeed, protect and serve, not to oppress. I know there is no guarantee that a gathering of thousands of people will be without disruption, but I will choose to attend because fear must not limit my determination to take a stand for what is right.

As Pastor Gabriel Salgueros once said, "The opposite of fear is not courage. The opposite of fear, according to the Scriptures, is love."