Why I March
By: Belaine Jones
:to make steady progress
Our digital age can be paralyzing at times. You receive a tirade of information everyday surging at you from every direction until you are caught in a riptide of chaos and it feels like your voice is drowning in the rush of World War III memes, the latest atrocities, and the finest pieces of prose crafted by our commander in chief.
The resulting feeling of powerlessness provides a justification for apathy. It is much easier to push all those issues out of your mind. After all, they are not your problem and it’s not your job to care. Sure, the ignorance is bliss, but it’s no way to live. I’ve found that the most effective way to shake yourself out of this stupor is to mobilize.
That is why I decided to join the Women’s March this year.
The fourth annual Women’s March was my first year in attendance, and it was a huge reminder to me as to why I can’t become complacent. The march offers visibility to women and the causes we fight for. It refuses the opposition the opportunity to ignore our demands by placing us in front of their faces. This visibility isn’t solely beneficial to defeating the systems that try to oppress us, but also to other members of our like-minded group.
Seeing everyone in the community makes me aware of the different corners that I am not a part of. I, a cis-gendered African American woman, will have different motivations for marching than a transgender woman, a Native American woman, a man or a disabled woman. We all are standing for the same cause and fighting for equality, even though we are each facing our own obstacles.
The vision of all of these people banded together against a common evil reminds me that I am not just walking for myself. My call for equality is for the benefit of everyone: the elderly woman who has been marching since the 70s, the young Girl Scout and her brother selling cookies behind me, and even the Trump supporters bearing signs that say “We are women who value men”.
Marching alongside other women who want a better future for each other made me feel less alone and more empowered to inflict change on our current oppressive structures.
I refuse to go to my grave knowing that I had allowed cowardice or apathy convince me that I shouldn’t act. I have committed myself to continue marching forward and supporting a brighter future in any way I can. Maybe comprehensive legislation will be passed tomorrow that will finally level the playing field. Or maybe it will be another 30 years until anything of import happens.
Either way, I will accept slow progress before I ever let the people in power believe they can get away with no progress at all.
Belaine Jones is a women’s rights advocate and an undergraduate student at SMU studying English with creative writing and world languages.
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