On January 21, 2017, I took part in the Women’s March on Washington. Despite the rampant hatred and extreme division that exists in America following the election of Donald Trump, what I witnessed was a myriad of different genders, cultures, races, sexual identities and orientations united and marching for a simple, yet apparently radical concept: equal rights for all of humankind. Many held signs that were in opposition to Trump’s ideals and presidency, but even more proudly displayed inspiring calls for love, unity, and strength in this time of turmoil and uncertainty. Some signs advertised why the person holding them had decided to march.
On January 21, I decided to march for my mom: a breast cancer survivor, my role model, and my best friend. I marched for my friend, Marina, who came all the way from Barcelona to demonstrate that women’s rights are in fact human rights. I marched for the many boys and girls that I babysit for, so that hopefully they can grow up in a world where they can chase their dreams unapologetically and won’t have to deal with the aftermath of a presidency where climate change is considered a liberal conspiracy theory and the uterus is regulated more than the automatic rifle. I marched for myself, for my lifelong dream of becoming an elementary school teacher in a world where I get paid the same amount as the man working next to me, and where I can teach my students about the many times that the Americans united to fight against injustice.
On October 6, 2018, accused sexual predator Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court in a close 50-48 vote, proving that, over a year after the first Women’s March, the Trump presidency has cultivated a disrespectful, victim-blaming, rape culture that is seen as acceptable in the highest seats of power. 33 Senators are up for reelection, including 23 Democrats, 2 independents and 8 Republicans.
On November 6, 2018, I will vote in the midterm elections because three million people protested all over the country and the Trump administration barely acknowledged it, aside from a few condescending remarks. Because someone who has accusations of rape and sexual assault against him can argue that he is the victim of a ruined reputation and still be elected to one of the highest positions of power in the country. Because I cannot walk home alone at night without fearing for my life. Because I never know when a catcall on a night out could turn into something much more violent that I would likely be blamed for. Because I have been silenced by my male peers several times too many. Because I have a voice, and I have the right to use it.
This is why I’m voting. What are your reasons?
COVER PHOTO: Lily Heller