This Is Why I'm Marching

At least 500,000 people flooded Washington, D.C. — and millions more throughout the world — on Jan. 21 for the Women's March. According to the organizers' platform, they march "to acknowledge those around the globe who fight for our freedoms," and to honor women who paved the way. Sojourners wants to know — why did you march; why are you continuing to march? Whether here in D.C., at a sister protest, or through prayer and in spirit, tell us your story, and we may feature it here at Sojourners.

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Your Stories

The Power of Hope Defeats the Power of Fear

Elena Ampeire CT US

My husband and I left our four young children and took two overnight busses to march in D.C. because we believe that "Love Trumps Hate." Our faith teaches us to love and support those who are marginalized by those in power. In our society, we believe this to be women (particularly women who have been sexually assaulted), immigrants, refugees, Muslims, people who are LGBT, people with disabilities, and people of color.

We marched to express our belief that the power of love defeats the power of hate and the power of hope defeats the power of fear. Particularly to those of us who might be tempted to despair at the seeming triumph of "Trumpism," we also marched to say the power of faith defeats despair. As a note of caution, we also say that our ultimate hope is not in, and our ultimate allegiance is not to, government or state, but our hope is in, and our allegiance is to, our Lord Almighty.

It Is My Faith That Pushes Me to Speak Out and Move My Feet

Sarah-Dianne JonesWashington DC US

I marched because on Nov. 9, 2016, I woke up wondering if I was safe in this country as a woman. 

I marched because when I was 10 years old, a boy in my class slapped my face and my teacher's response was, "That means he likes you!" 

I marched because my faith tells me that we are all God's children and we deserve equal treatment. 

I March to Show People the Church Stands with the Marginalized

KaylaDC DC US

I marched in D.C. I marched because anything else would have sullied the Christian title I claim. 

I am in a denomination that does incredible, quantifiable good, but is internally on the edge of a theologically divisive conflict. Within this church, my workplace, I have been mentored by the toughest, justice-loving, sloth-hating pastors I have ever known. They have fought for inclusion of LGBT communities, including hiring and mentoring LGBT employees. They constantly seek ways to reduce the environmental impact of our churches. They throw themselves into the trenches of suffering and sometimes lift out miracles. They read, and read, and read, never happy with the amount of education they have. They don't let racism stand anywhere near them. The women at large preach, teach, and travel just as the men — and in my experience, they do so MORE than the men. 

I March Because I Am a Follower of Jesus — How Could I Not?

AnonymousMinneapolis MN US

I march for sexual assault survivors. I march because sexual assault is never OK or justified. I march because I believe you. I march because bragging about sexual assault is “locker room talk.” I march because a man that has been accused of assault should not get to be in a position of power. 

I march for boys and men that are raised to think they can’t control their sexual urges. I march because I know we can raise a generation of men that respect and support women. I march because boys need to know that women aren’t objects. I march because young boys are growing up with role models that are violent toward women and children and are being told that is OK. 

I Marched Because So Many Are Still Asking Why

Pastor Marla RotmanSt. Paul MN US

People are asking me why I marched. 

I marched for Tamar and Ruth who were trapped in a system that would not give justice unless they first offered sex. 

I marched for Eve who has traditionally and perpetually been held responsible for the sin of women AND men. 

I marched for Deborah who's wisdom was REQUIRED in battle, but was refused the recognition of soldier. 

I marched for women who have been called unclean because of the way their bodies were created to bring life. 

All Is Not Lost

Angela Barker JacksonTopeka KS US

I’ve been trying for days to articulate my reasons for participating in the “Women’s March on Topeka.” I think maybe, just maybe, I’m ready to talk about them. 

2016 proved to be a difficult year for me personally. Only my closest confidantes knew the struggles I faced, and even then, no one truly realized the depths of my internal anguish. It was a year of loss. 

I lost confidence in my vocation. In my eighth year of ministry, people continued to be surprised that I could preach an articulate sermon, lead thoughtful discussion, connect with suffering, preside over meaningful funerals, and officiate memorable weddings. Congregants bemoaned the demonstration of strong leadership (btw: I’ve never heard a man called pushy) and the exercise of prophetic voice (keep your opinions to yourself). I was asked, “Why can’t you be more like your husband?” I quit writing and speaking unless it was required. 

I Want to Be Able to Say I Did Something

Chip O'BrienSpokane WA US

I will attend the Women's March here in Spokane today because I've decided NOT to take Mr. Trump sitting down. There has been a significant change in our government, so I figure there must also be a change in how I deal with it, like getting up off the couch. It's been a long time since I've been politically involved, in fact, since the Vietnam War. Back then I was barely old enough to understand what was going on, but as my first "adult" act I applied for and achieved Conscientious Objector status. I protested nonviolently, and the war was ended shortly thereafter. 

I DID something and good things happened. I don't know what's going to happen today. I want to be able to say I DID something, was part of a nonviolent something, was not just passively sitting around. It's a start-

As a Daughter of a Muslim Immigrant, a Social Worker, as a Woman and Mother

Suzanne ShatilaMinneapolis MN US

As the daughter of an Muslim immigrant from the Arab world, I'm marching to show support for my Muslim sisters and brothers and for immigrants and refugees. 

As a social worker and someone who believes in social justice I'm marching to show my support for the undocumented, members of the LGBTQI community, those without healthcare, those working and making poverty level wages, those relying on SNAP or other safety net programs to make ends meet, those living with disabilities, and anyone who is vulnerable or marginalized. 

As a women and mother I'm marching to show my support for women's rights.

We Deserve a Seat at the Table of Abundant Life

Nicole ParkDenton TX US

I am marching because my faith compels me to stand up for the poor, the marginalized, and the outcast. As special educator, mother of an LGBTQ daughter, and son soon to be in the armed forces, and advocate of undocumented immigrants and people with disabilities I am called to stand up for those at risk of being pushed aside and trampled upon. As a woman, I recognize that over 50% of the world's population deserves a voice and a seat at the table of abundant life.

Marching Is a Prayer, a Love Song

Melissa Bruce Shaffer

I will march on Saturday for many reasons — racial injustice, concern for my LGBTQ friends and family, for my Muslim neighbors, for the values recently conveyed about women, because I live in a town outside of Baltimore that thought (out of fear of and resentment toward Latinos) it needed to make English its official language, because I believe in bridges not walls, because Confederate flag bumper stickers exist, because care for the earth actually does matter, because water Is life, and because my faith compels me to care about anyone who is vulnerable — but my most personal reason is that appointees for Chief Strategist and for Secretary of Education do and say things that put persons like my son at risk. 

As I lamented this with my sister in November (regarding Bannon's cruel words about the differently abled), she listened and then said "I have a plane ticket, let's march." Marching is a prayer, marching is a love song. I pray for and love my child with all my heart. I pray for and love this country, too.

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

Christina KimFullerton CA US

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. 

Who Are We If Someone Takes Our Rights from Us?

Ellen Peters OttoCarlisle PA US

This March. What is it about? What is it for?

To me this March cannot be mislabeled as just an anti-Trump protest. This march is far more than that oversimplified conjecture.

The purpose of this March is to be a voice for women, support women, and stand up for the rights of women.

I am a woman.

I am a woman who has hugged 12- and 14-year-old pregnant victims of sex trafficking knowing they have nowhere to turn — they are both orphans and soon-to-be mothers all in the same breath, longing for love and mothering themselves.

I am a woman who worked in corporate America for 15 years and experienced success as well as sacrifice, simultaneous with childbirth and child rearing. I have felt the pull of heartstrings while leaving home and children for work, day after day, facing a 38-mile commute in the dark knowing that when I returned home it would again be dark, and the next day would be just the same.

I am a woman who has experienced unexpected and undesired single parenthood after the death of a husband, stretched for time and energy and wondering how single mothers with less support, less education, and less resources make it in this world.

I am a woman who has worked for the rate of minimum wage as both an educated young graduate and again as a 43-year-old reentering the workforce after massive life change, wondering once more how single mothers with no additional resources ever make ends meet when life throws them to their knees after divorce, displacement, or other misfortune. Life is full of twists and turns for all of us. Educated. Uneducated. People of all color, race, background and socio-economic status. It can be complicated. People struggle at times. And, generally, people do the best they can with the hands they are dealt.

Women have a unique responsibility in this world as the child-bearers. Women are more often displaced and left to raise children alone and to make ends meet as single parents. Women need the right to care for themselves, their families, and their bodies.

Who are we if someone else denies us this right or takes it from us? Without human rights, what are we?

I believe that all of us must stand together in unified support of women, especially those who are single mothers, victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence, women desiring to prevent unwanted pregnancy and properly care for their health, single and married women in the workforce deserving to be paid fairly for the work they do, and others.

This March represents far more than a polarized country debating over whether it supports one single man in office.

This March represents far more than a pro life/pro choice debate.

This March represents connectedness and concern for humanity - kindness, respect, protection, safety, parity, and equality for all.

This March is both necessary and good.

I'm a Part of the Body. When One Part Suffers, We All Suffer.

StephanieStephenville TX US

I'm a follower of Jesus, and as his followers, we're called to show up in places where the vulnerable in society are found, to stand with them, and make their plight our own plight. At this moment in time, many marginalized groups (racial minorities, immigrants, refugees, women, the poor who are losing their healthcare, etc) feel vulnerable and threatened, and are marching as a way to give expression to that. I want to join with them in reminding the new administration to keep human rights and policy that will promote human flourishing for everyone front and center. 

Peace and Prosperity

Susan Grant-NashPutnam CT US

In 2017 I'm marching for world peace and prosperity. In the early 1900s my grandparents came to the U.S. seeking peace and prosperity. My father fought in Germany and Korea for peace and prosperity. I protested in the 1970s for peace and prosperity. I now march for peace and prosperity not only for my grandchildren, but for all present and future generations of all of us, all nations, all races, all beliefs. Without peace and prosperity throughout our world, none will be sustained. 

Until the rhetoric of this election I naively thought we, in the U.S. were well in our way to leading to that accomplishment. It's now obvious that there is much more work to be done. That someone who can speak so disparagingly about so many was elected as our president is a wake up call to all of us. We must all march for world peace and prosperity, in our hearts, in our families, in our communities, in our country, throughout our world.

Morality and Social Justice

AnonymousKula HI US

As a Christian I feel the need to stand for morality and social justice. I am hoping our new president will receive a message of peace, love, and tolerance as he moves forward.

We Care About Our Children's Futures

AnonymousRed Oak OK US

My sisters and I are going to Washington from Oklahoma because we care: we care about our grandsons who live below the poverty level and depend on Medicaid for their health needs; we care about our adopted son who is serving an excessively long sentence along with more men and women in prison here than any where else in the world; we care about our daughters and granddaughters who are vulnerable to sexual assault; we care about our neighbors who depend on Medicare and social security for their livelihoods; we care about our world; we care about our children's future; we care about our freedoms of speech and especially the freedom to be informed by an independent press and our freedom to assemble; we care about both Israel and Palestine; we care and so we match. — Three sisters in their 60s from Oklahoma.

Civility, Integrity, and Compassion

Connie Johnson LongWorthington OH US

I am marching to stand up for civility, integrity, and compassion. I am a Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) clergy member who is a chaplain at an inner city Level 1 Trauma Center.

My Bias Is a Jesus Bias, and I Embrace It Toward Justice and Equality in Jesus' Name

The Rt. Rev. Susan E. Goff, Bishop Suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of VirginiaRichmond VA US

It's all about the deep and abiding love of Jesus. Jesus loved people, loved them with concrete action for their well-being – he healed the sick and fed the hungry. He loved especially people who were despised, rejected, or marginalized. He chose men as his disciples and, out of his powerful choice to love the marginalized, he also chose women. When he rose from the dead, he told a woman disciple to go and tell the others that he was alive. He made her the first apostle, which means someone who is sent. In Eastern Orthodox Christian tradition this woman, Mary Magdalene, is known as the Apostle to the Apostles. 

Jesus’ choice of a woman as his first apostle may have come directly from his knowledge of scripture. Jesus would have known these words from the first creation story in the Book of Genesis, “God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. . . and it was very good." (Genesis 1:26-27, 31a) 

I'm Advocating for Humanity's Sacred Worth

Lisa BattenKalamazoo MI US

I am a white, middle-class woman, wife, mother of three biological children and several pseudo-adopted children, a UMC clergy person, campus minister. I walk because my daughter asked me. My 24 year old, independent, beautiful daughter asked me to walk with her, and what mother could say "no" to walking with her daughter for the cause of human rights. I walk because I want to advocate for all of humanity's sacred worth.

Marching with the Women of the Southsiders for Peace in Chicago

Janice GintzlerCrestwood IL US

I will march with the women of Southsiders for Peace in the Chicago March to resist, because I believe in a society of people who take an active interest in how the Illinois state assembly, Congress, and the administration operate, because our lives are dictated by these politicians. Most people do not realize this. 

When I was in college at the University of Illinois at Urbana I wrote a letter to my local newspaper back home in Chicago's Roseland community about what was happening on campus when the National Guard moved in because students were protesting U.S. bombing of Cambodia. It was spring of 1969 or 1970.

I March to Tell Donald Trump: We Are Watching

AnonymousIowa City IA US

I want to march in support of our U.S. Constitution — freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, racial equality. And I want to march for the preservation of our planet, for not going backward on climate change. I want to march for all who are feeling frightened by the results of this last election — to show that there are many of us who care and stand together in solidarity. 

I want to march to show that we demand respect, each of us, women and men. And I want to march to tell Donald Trump that we are watching, we are participating, and we are refusing to lose what is great about our country.

We Cannot Go Back to Fighting Again for Basic Human Rights

Dorothy DeHartDillon MT US

I march because I want the world to know that we care about all people and all of Gods creation. We CANNOT go back to fighting again for basic human rights. We have so much to protect for our children, for the marginalized, for the soul of our country. And we have so much more work to do to bring peace, justice and hope to all people. We can't waste time re-fighting for the progress we have already made.

My Rights Took Years to Be Recognized

Maryellen RedishPalm Desert CA US

I'm a woman and my rights took many years to be recognized. Thousands of women suffered and spent time in jail to secure these rights for me. At a time when women's rights are under assault from Republicans the least I can do is participate in this local march. Wish I could afford to be in D.C. but we all do what we can.

In Prayer for the Protection of All Women's Rights

David H. SchlanskerRiparius NY US

I will be at home in prayer for the protection of all women's rights. None must be denied by action of Congress or the President.

Jesus Is Our Guide

AnonymousPortland OR US

I march for all who have been hurt, including myself — by patriarchy and misrepresentations of Christ. I march to affirm the undeniable worth of every person, as we all are created by and in the image of God. I march in solidarity with all who are committed to love and action, with Jesus as our guide.

I'm Tired of Letting Others Dictate What Rights I Can Have

Mary Ann Patterson US

When I was six years old, I moved into a neighborhood where all of the children were male, a few my age and a few a little older. In an attempt to fit in (that's what army brats do) I quickly made myself useful by participating in their project of building a tree fort over the summer. My assignment was to scrounge around the neighborhood looking for wood, bricks, whatever I could find to help with the construction. I was good at it, and therefore was accepted as "one of the guys."

By the end of summer the tree fort was finished and the initiation into our new club would take place right after school. I raced home and hurried over to the empty lot where the fort stood. A ladder had been place at the base of the tree and on the ladder was a sign that read "No Girls Allowed." Surely, I thought, that didn't apply to me! I ignored the sign and began to climb. One of the boys called out, "Can't you read? No girls allowed!" Puzzled, I kept climbing. "If you don't stop we will drop a brick on your head," yelled one. And that's just what they did.

The next thing I remember, my parents are kneeling over me at the base of the tree, tending to my wound. It was at that moment I realized that being a girl was going to be a challenge, that I was not going to be afforded the same access as the boys, and that somehow, girls were able to be kept out of things that boys could get into.

As I went through my life it became more and more apparent.

In 1971 my college dorm had a strict curfew for girls but not for the boys. "That's how we keep the boys under control, and besides, the parents like it that way," was the response from the dean of students when I pointed out that restricting only the girls might be unconstitutional.

In 1973 I was told that if I was really serious about buying a car the dealer would have to see a man at some point as women could be denied credit without a male co-signer under the current law.

In 1984 I was given a significant promotion in my place of work because, in the words of my employer, "We know you don't want to get pregnant," even though the pregnancy discrimination act of 1978 banned employers the right to discriminate against pregnant women.

In recent years I have seen the government whittle away at what little reproductive rights we have been able to garner. As I now ease into my later years, I am tired of letting others dictate what rights I can have and which ones I cannot. It's time for women of all ages to stand up and say enough. I will be there, on the 21st, proudly standing up for, and demanding, my rights.

I Will Not Stay Silent

ElizaLancaster PA US

I am marching for my child and all the children in this country that are terrified of growing up in a country that does not value diversity. When the President elect chooses a white supremacist as his closer adviser, he sends a clear message that certain people are more valuable than others. I will NOT stay silent. My voice in opposition to such bigotry will be heard.

I Won't Let His Values to Become Our National Values

AnonymousSmyrna GA US

I march because the moment videos were shown of Trump making violating comments about women — AS WELL AS his response that it was merely Locker Room Talk — I knew that I needed to speak truth against such denigrating "power." I am heartbroken that this is the man our country elected, and as a woman will stand up for any and all necessary to not allow his values and mentality about women to become our national values.

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