Why We March.



Saturday, January 21, 2017 was the day of the Women's March in Washington D.C. There were marches held all over the world in major cities like Rio de Janiero, London, New York, Paris, Berlin...bottom line, men and women all over the world came together to speak up. I heard on the radio that it was estimated that 4.5 million people marched worldwide, making it the largest demonstration in history. That says something. It says that we as a people, regardless of race, gender, religious background, income level or sexual preference want to be recognized as being more than what we are labeled. 

I keep seeing people from all over the world ask on social media "why are they marching?" These are questions from people who get their news from their Facebook feed. To be truly informed, you need do research for yourself. Be relentless. Ask questions. Real activism is reaching out to those who don't think like you. It's about putting your ideas out there in a well-researched and organized way in which people can read and try to understand your point of view. It's not posting a facebook status and hoping for change.

So. That is why I'm writing this-to get you started. To give you an informed, researched synopsis of what is going on to the best of my ability.

Recognizing the Problem

I was on my way back from Iceland during the marches on Saturday. I stayed glued to my phone and tvs following anything and everything so that I could to see how things were going and what was being said. Sadly, I sat in JFK airport and watched news coverage ONLY cover Donald Trump at a prayer service...just sitting there. For hours! When that was finally over, news channels decided to cover  the marches. In my opinion, that is part of the problem. News stations think it's better to have commentary on Donald Trump as he stares into the abyss rather than cover the thoughts and opinions of men and women who are actively trying to be the voices of their causes. 

While I was at the airport, I also saw every single woman staring at the tvs when the marches were being covered. Alternatively, every man sat playing on their phone. That is the problem. Even when we stand, millions of us together, screaming at the top of our lungs that there is an issue we would like to actively work towards remedying, we are still ignored. Heads up, boys!

As for the reasons behind the marches-here goes...


Equality

As we have seen, Donald Trump loves to disrespect women, immigrants, journalists...other than older white men, can you identify a group he hasn't disrespected? Let me know. I'm sure I'll be waiting a while.

This march was not just about women. Even though it was tagged as the "Women's March," it was about equality. It was a time and a place for people, all people, to stand together and say "I am what I am and that might be different from you but unique is not bad. I have a voice that has value and it will be heard." As we saw over the course of his campaign and are continuing to see, Trump deliberately tries to stifle anybody who disagrees with him. This march was an opportunity to take a stand against that regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, religion, income level or sexual preference. 

Funding for Planned Parenthood/Women's Rights/Upholding Roe vs. Wade

Planned Parenthood is an organization that provides affordable healthcare to women. The federal government has provided funding in the past but has started reducing that funding dramatically. There is a fear that all funding will be cut now that Trump is in office. His comments during the election about how women can be treated (sexually assaulted being justified and ok if you are wealthy, in his opinion) and how women who have abortions "should be punished" are pretty solid indicators that this is the direction in which he and his cabinet will try to go. Most hardcore Republicans and Pro-lifers like to say Planned Parenthood is just an abortion clinic. That is simply not true.

These are clinics that provide breast, ovarian, cervical, and other cancer screenings. Even with insurance, these facilities are often cheaper when it comes to having these screenings done and also provide a safe and judgement-free place to receive healthcare. I have gone to other OBGYNs and been asked what my pregnancy plans are "because you're not getting any younger." That was asked by a WOMAN and I was 24. REALLY?! These facilities SAVE lives. Thousands of them. You can read an article by Forbes here or the annual report from Planned Parenthood by clicking the link in the article. These are facts.

Planned Parenthood also provides affordable (birth control pills) or free contraception (condoms). I have known other women in my life that had religious or overly involved parents that would not let them go on birth control regardless of how bad their cramps were, their skin breaking out from the hormonal swings, or even the depression experience as part of having PMDD. Birth control isn't just used to keep you from getting pregnant. These other women were able to get the healthcare they needed without having to file through insurance that their parents would have had to have seen and for half the price of what you pay even with good insurance. It is YOUR body and it is should be YOUR choice what you do with it. It is not your parents', siblings', boyfriends', or girlfriends' choice. It is yours. Always remember that. Stand up for yourself, damn it.

Planned Parenthood also provides  pregnancy counseling and checkups. Low-income women in particular, benefit from these services. If you're a young mother with little or no income, it is vital that you are informed about how to take care of  yourself and your baby throughout the course of a pregnancy. You need to know about the importance of abstaining from drugs, alcohol and tobacco, maintaining a healthy and balanced diet, and getting the essential nutrients you and the baby might need.

These facilities educate women on how to have a healthy pregnancy but will discuss other options whether it is adoption or abortion IF you want that information. Nobody is forcing you to go there. It is a choice to be there and it's a choice what you do with your body.

Just because you are Pro-Choice doesn't mean you're Pro-Abortion. Being Pro-Choice means that you do not want the government regulating what you do with your body. The outcome of Roe vs. Wade should have taken care of this but somehow, we are still fighting to keep old white men's decision-making power away from our ovaries. Abortions are sometimes performed because the pregnancy and birth of a child would risk the life of the mother. You think it's fair to say that the mother should have to die even if there were a means of preventing that? What about cases of rape? It wasn't the victim's choice to become pregnant-why should the government be able to dictate that she have the child? They shouldn't. Period.

The Environment

Over the past several months Donald Trump has threatened that he is going to pull out of the Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement was signed by several countries (196) in order to slow the effects of climate change and keep our average global temperature from rising above 2 deg Celsius, mainly by reducing carbon emissions. Essentially, the Paris Agreement has all of the participating countries report their emissions and then make voluntary contributions (countries can choose how to do so) to offset those emissions. It seems like a no-brainer, right? Through legislation and effort, things can change. When there was a hole in the ozone caused by CFCs, there was legislation put in place to stop using CFCs when manufacturing products, things like aerosol cans. The hole closed up. People don't always do what is best for everyone-story of the commons. Legislation is necessary to ensure we don't consume, buy, and drive our planet into oblivion.

This article by the Nature Conservancy can help you understand the Paris Agreement further.

Everyone will be affected by climate change. Sea level rise will cover most of Florida and other sea-level areas. Glaciers will melt, icebergs too. Polar bears and other fauna will die. Bees are already dying. Flora is not being pollinated which means say goodbye to what we eat. We eat plants! We eat meat! And the meat we eat, eats plants! It's all a cycle and we've drastically screwed it all up. 

It's nearly 70 degrees here in Atlanta in JANUARY! We had a several month drought-farmers lost tons of crops. Anybody living in a major city can see the grey/yellow haze sitting over everything-it's pollution and that's WITH attainment laws! The environment is the one thing that we should all agree on-there is no plan B or C when it comes to our planet. 

Outside of the obvious taking a stand to uphold the Paris Agreement, you can do your part in other ways. 

  • Plant as many things as you can, preferably plants that don't require a lot of water. 
  • Consume less-don't buy stuff you don't actually need. 
  • Don't run electric, gas, or water unnecessarily. 
  • Try turning up your AC a degree or two in the summer and down a few in the winter-it won't kill you. 
  • Don't throw away things you might be able to reuse-glass jars, plastic containers, etc. 
  • Don't toss your clothes either, give them to your friends who might want them first, otherwise send them somewhere they will go to a good cause whether it's a battered women's shelter or give them directly to people living on the streets. 
  • Recycle any and everything that you can. 
  • Bring your own containers and utensils with you when you go out to eat, especially when consuming fast food (if you're going to eat it). 
  • Shop local and buy groceries at farmers markets as often as possible. 
  • Cook at home more often-you'll use less ingredients than a restaurant and often those ingredients have less of a carbon footprint. 
  • Use cloth napkins. 
  • Reuse your towel more than once and re-wear your jeans and other clothing until it actually needs to be washed. 


See some of my other posts on the "Sustainable Living" tab under "Pages" on the home screen for more tips.

Conclusion

As you can see, this march was about so much more than a pink hat and a poster. This march was for all of us because we recognize there's a problem that needs to see an immediate solution, if by no other means than by recognition. Even if you stand alone, take a stand. Sign a petition. Show up for a march. Donate to a cause. Do your research. Stand. Fight. Win.

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