Using privilege to end privilege

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This past weekend has been not only inspiring but has instilled hope in me for my country, something that I never thought possible. Participating in the Women’s March in Madison, Wisconsin was something that I was very unsure about at first. I had never participated in a demonstration before. What if I went and it turned awry? What if it got violent? What if there had been an anti-protest in response to this one? I didn’t want to get caught in the middle of the violence, if it were to turn that way, because that’s not who I am.

However, it’s time for me to stop being afraid and to allow my passion for justice and equality to be shown. I may be one voice, but this was too important not to participate.

I’ve used my words before, but those are no longer going to be enough. I need to use my actions to do the same.

And my fears were in vain, this march was not only inspiring, but it was peaceful and joyful. People were angry, angry about the injustices that have occurred in the last year or so because of the election, but people were joyful to be able to come together, to love one another and to support one another. That’s what gave me hope, seeing people from all different walks of life, all different ages, women, men, and children coming together for one purpose. It was magical.

Waking up this morning, in checking my Facebook, I saw posts such as “Make no mistake, the women’s march doesn’t represent all women.” Okay. Those women have the right to say/post that. However, it makes me wonder, why doesn’t it? Or, why can’t it? I think they are missing the point.

Maybe those women do support Trump. Maybe they support what he says he’s going to do to help move this country in a positive direction. However, I don’t think they realize that obviously he’s already failing to make America great again. Across the nation and the globe women, men, and children marched because his words and his actions have marginalized so many people, and these people, along with white privileged people like myself who are trying to open their eyes to their privilege and use it for good have been given the message by our new president ”Make America great again…but only for white males and a select few white women.” That is the message he has given our nation, a nation so rich with diversity, it’s beautiful. America’s diversity is what makes it beautiful and great.

That’s what this march was about, at least for me. Yes, there were signs with anti-trump slogans and cartoons, but there were so many more that talked more about having equality and justice for all. So many represented positive actions, fighting for women rights; the rights of marginalized communities such as people of color, of different religions, and the LGBTQ community; and fighting for environmental rights, our rights to a clean Earth. This march wasn’t about shoving feminism in the faces of America, though that may have been a large part of it for some women, it was about switching perspectives. Men were not only welcome to march, but they were also wanted. This was a march led by women because it’s time that the roles were reversed. This doesn’t mean that men aren’t equal with women. It means that sometimes we just need to gain some perspective, men included.

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Now, I’m not saying that some things in our country don’t need to be improved or fixed, because they do. I’m not saying that we are perfect, because we aren’t. However, I think if we all really want change, even Trump supporters, then we all must work together for equality and justice for all, no matter who they are.

I cannot lie and say that I like Trump or want him to be my president, because I most definitely do not. However, I have to look reality in the face and admit that he is my president, but that doesn’t mean that I have to accept this inequality and marginalization. Instead, I pray that Trump will succeed. I pray that Trump has seen the error of his ways and that he starts to see and recognize the needs and the desires of all of his people, not just his supporters. He has failed our country, but he has four years to turn it around. I pray that he does so.

The march ended with speakers, and unfortunately, I could not see their faces or hear their names. One of them had this powerful message, ”This march is our battle cry, but it is not the battle,” and that’s exactly what I have to say to those whom have responded negatively to these marches. Maybe some of you think it’s pointless, that it won’t change anything, and that maybe we are ”just complaining.” You have the right to think that, but as these words state, this is just our battle cry. I plan to, and hope everyone at the marches yesterday will do the same, fight for equality and justice for all.

Being active politically and in my community is still fairly new to me, so I will have to continue to explore how best to help those whom are not privileged like myself. It is for sure a battle, but I think we all are capable of being up for the challenge.

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