In the past couple of weeks, I’ve stood in crowds of hundreds, thousands, and something approaching a million people to let our government know that what they are doing is not okay with us. I used to do this sort of thing fairly often, but I got out of the habit, got too nervous in crowds, got too comfortable knowing there were others who had taken the reins.
I’m renewing the habit, because it’s time to take a stand for what is right. It’s time to take a stand for empathy. Anyone favoring the ban on travel from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen, and suspension of the refugee program, and responding by saying, “It’s only X amount of time.” is not putting themselves in the shoes of the people being affected. If they were the ones traveling away from home, only to be handcuffed when they got off the plane, or told they couldn’t get on the plane to return to family, school, job — but only for four months — would they think it was such a small thing?
That refugees who had finally been told that they would be able to start a new life in a place free from war and famine should suddenly be told that those plans had to be put on hold indefinitely is incredibly cruel and lacking in empathy. The lack of forethought into the impact it would have on lives of families and children is staggering.
As a human being, I am standing for all people — at home and abroad — who are marginalized by this administration; all of those groups being identified as “other.” I am using my voice to speak up for those who may feel they can not raise their own for fear of retribution or reprisal.
As a woman, I am standing for myself and for all other women against a government — largely composed of rich white men — that consistently devalues me as compared to my male counterparts, and that seems committed to limit my right to self-determination when it comes to decisions about my own body.
I am fortunate to live in a community which welcomes diversity, populated by a good number of people willing to stand up and speak out for the rights of others, including the environment . I have been proud to have stood with them over the past weeks, and will be proud to continue to do so for as long as it takes.