I am joining this virtual march for many reasons. While I live close to the actual Women’s March on Washington, my disabling conditions including dysautonomia, ME/CFS, Ehlers Danlos syndrome, and fibromyalgia make it very uncertain that I’ll wake up Saturday morning with my body functional enough to take the subway and stand in a crowd with my walker supporting me for any length of time. But I’ve wanted to be there ever since I first heard of the march, and I was hoping to take my 11 year old daughter if my health happened to be up for it.
I am joining because people with disabilities deserve respect, dignity, and support.
I am joining because, as a middle-class, middle-aged white woman, I am sitting atop a hill of privilege that I was born into. I owe it to people who have not been afforded this privilege because they are not white, to stand along side them, listen to them with empathy, and support them in their struggles against oppression.
I am joining because discrimination based on race, religion, national origin, gender/sexual identity, and health/ability status is never ok.
I am joining because my daughter deserves to grow up in a country where women are given the same respect, rights, and opportunities as men, and women get to make the decisions that relate to their own bodies. I pray that she can be spared some of the sexist/misogynist struggles I experienced as she gets older.
I am joining in support of my friends and relatives who have been sexually assaulted, and for the many sexual assault victims I have worked with in my pre-disability social work career.
I am joining because all Americans need and deserve affordable health care. Such a no-brainer to a person with chronic illness.
I am joining because we cannot let fear win — fear of bullies, fear of boat-rocking, fear of raising our voices for what we feel in our hearts is right, fear of facing the negative aspects of our national history head on, fear of the personal discomfort and uncertainty that comes with looking at ourselves honestly.
I have not decided what I would put on a sign if I were going to the march in person. I keep coming back to the words empathy, respect, justice, love, and hope though.