In response to the event of our President Elect preparing to enter into office, I found myself searching my mind for an idea to make public my support of those whose “humanness” is now being even more blatantly threatened. Through my curious nature I surfed the web and I discovered the Women’s March on Washington. I was intrigued, and then the next thing I knew I was on a 13 hour bus ride to Washington D.C., mentally prepared for anything to happen or so I thought.
I stayed the weekend at the D.C. Catholic Worker House and began to try to understand the difference between what I wanted to see happen at this march and what may actually happen. I packed a small bag and was on my way to the march with a pastor, an older generation Catholic Worker, another Catholic Worker friend from Las Vegas and a few nuns from Michigan who held up their map of land-based nuclear missiles proudly. Trying to prevent myself from having a panic attack at the sight of more people than I had ever seen in my entire life, one other Catholic Worker and I slipped through cracks in the crowd, hopped a fence and breathed it all in. I took time to look around at the many shades of pink that I seemed to be swimming in. Sign after sign was “Get your rosaries off my ovaries”, “My body my choice,” “Planned Parenthood” or “Congratulations, now I’m an activist.” I felt my normally joyful demeanor melt into a dark cloud that hung over me for a bit of time. My intention at the March was to help stand in solidarity with those who are unheard, misrepresented, mistreated and unwelcomed among our nation and have been for a very long time. I was looking forward to immersing myself in a group of individuals, mainly women, who were standing for similar issues with the intention of vocalizing that we stand together through all the turmoil. However, yet again, there was little attention and focus on the issues of racism, deportations, police violence, women’s health or even the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Some may disagree and say that there WAS emphasis on women’s health at the March because there were signs that read, “My body, my choice,” and many banners in support of Planned Parenthood. This march was clearly catering to pro-choice beliefs and hardly anything else. I felt my eyes fixate on a little girl who was holding up a sign that had a hanger with dripping blood that read, “Never again.” After seeing that I felt sick to my stomach. There are so many pertinent issues that long for well-deserved attention and yet, what gets attention is the fact that many women want to be able to decide to have an abortion or not. Why are our priorities so focused on having power to choose life or death? We choose death when we decide to not stand up for our brothers and sisters. We choose death when we judge others for being a part of a different religion than our own, if any. We choose death when we use violence to silence situations we aren’t ready for or those we disagree with. As much of a struggle it is to admit it, when we decide what lives and what dies we insist on playing the role of God.
My heart breaks everytime I hear about someone forgetting that non-violence is something that has worked. There is a reason why Peter Maurin and Dorothy Day wanted to “create a new society in the shell of the old.” We have lost sight of what it means to be good and maybe that is because we have never known how to be good. These are not new issues that we are facing, but we can adapt to new paths in this world to be able to live each day with joy and give up on embracing death.
We have reacted to this presidential term as if this is the first time we have seen discrimination, but it never ended! I believe this is another example of white privilege and it is about time that white people, including myself, acknowledge the fact that their voice is loud, louder than the rest. There is still a disconnect that there are issues that have existed for years that have not been straightened out. Of course there are other problems that exist that need to be addressed, but what about the voices that are continuously being ignored? I am looking forward to the day when we can all put our personal agendas aside and become the people of the UNITED States of America, united with each other, united in Christ.