I felt so helpless when my nephew was diagnosed with cancer. It seemed so unjust and unfair that this beautiful, healthy boy would have to spend nearly a year in hospital fighting this horrible illness. Aside from phone calls, visits, cards and gifts, there was very little any of us could do to help. It was always going to be terrible and stressful and we just had to get through it. Out of this feeling of helplessness I decided to grow out and donate my hair (which I will finally cut this summer after four years). It is such a tiny thing compared to the suffering my nephew experienced, and the upheaval and heartache those who cared for him experienced, but it was something I was capable of doing that would make a difference, however small. I feel the same way about my decision to march this Saturday in London.
I don’t want to go into my feelings regarding Trump’s election, as I am no where near ready to say anything even vaguely polite about him or what he stands for. But to be clear, my severe dislike of Trump isn’t just about differing political opinions, or being a sore loser. Before you put me in a box, let me say that I used to be an “undecided” voter. I am against elective abortions and the death penalty, I regularly attend a Catholic church services, and to be honest, I don’t really like Hillary much either. But at least Hillary has real experience in politics and has a temperament suited for a public servant. I can’t say the same about Donald Trump.
What I do want to say is that this Saturday I will be doing what I can make a stand against hatred. I will add my voice to the voices of millions of women and men and children around the world who will be standing up for acceptance, peace and love. I want my children to witness their mother stand up for what is right. I particularly want my six-year-old daughter to see her mother attempting to safe guard her future. I want her to know that it is NEVER okay for a man to grab her private parts or anywhere else without her consent. I want her to know that she deserves respect as a human being, and that her gender doesn’t disqualify her from that respect. I want my son to know that his mother is standing up for who he will become: straight, gay, or any variation thereof. I want my nieces and nephews to know that not all adults are out of touch; their futures depend on the generations before them not standing idly by while their health insurance is removed, and their fundamental human rights are discarded. I don’t want to let them down. I can’t do much, but I can march and show my solidarity. I pray that is enough for now.
I imagine the day after the march won’t feel unlike the day after deciding to grow out and donate my hair, when I looked in the mirror and saw that despite my decision to grow it out, my hair was still only about two inches long. Similarly, marching is a small gesture that can feel like a tiny drop in a massive bucket. But it is my drop, and it is our bucket. And it is certainly better than doing nothing.
I’d like to end with some advice that has been floating around Facebook for those planning to march (please comment if you know the source for this):
- Keep your cool.
- Do not offer personal information to unsolicited requests.
- Stay to the edges of the crowd.
- Have a meet-up-if-you-get-separated plan; do not count on your cellphones for this purpose.
- Write important information on your forearm in Sharpie (emergency contact, drug allergies, etc.). It will wash off eventually. In fact, bring a Sharpie with you to share with others for this purpose.
- Stay hydrated and never pass up an opportunity to use a toilet.
- Wear the right shoes and don’t carry anything you can’t lose.
- LISTEN to the energy and calmly leave the vicinity if you have any doubts about anything. (These are intended to be peaceful gatherings but there have been intimations that infiltrators will try to incite violence and make it look like the protestors caused it. Use your own judgment on this one.)
I would love for you to join me. (Click here to find a sister march in your area.)
(Pictures found on Pinterest)