Why I March
The first time I went to a political march was 14 years ago. It was early 2004 and I was part of thousands of people who marched through the streets of Ottawa, Canada protesting a state visit by George W. Bush. This was in the shadow of the Iraq War and Canadians along with many other nations were highly critical of the rationale used to justify the invasion along with the failure of the United States to to gain proper approval from the U.N. to launch the attacks.
I’m sure everyone remembers the “Coalition of the Willing”. Canada was not part of it. It was the first time in modern history that Canada had NOT followed its southern neighbor into war.
I felt the Iraq war was totally unneeded and unjustified, so that is why I marched. It was outside of my comfort zone, but I have no regrets. My voice was heard.
After that, I paid keen attention to politics year after year but things never seemed to get to the point where I felt an overwhelming desire to march again.
When Donald Trump first became President, I was worried but still hopeful that maybe, just maybe things wouldn’t be as bad as the critics said it would be. “This is all blown out of proportion” , I said, “Surely his advisors and career policy officials and Congress will hold him accountable.”
That never happened and now we have a disaster of a situation on the Southern border. Kids who are coming here with their families to legally claim Asylum are being forcibly separated from those families and locked into internment camp like detention centers, being treated like hardened criminals despite not having done anything criminal at all. Any America in which a three year old is supposed to represent himself in court is not one I can support.
Now every person who tries to enter the United States via Mexico for whatever reason is immediately branded an “illegal immigrant” or a “rapist” or an “animal” and treated with scorn.
As an immigrant myself, I could not stand idly by while this was allowed to take place.
It was time to march again.
I was a bit apprehensive marching in such a heavily Republican area of the Deep South but I eventually I decided I better go in full bore or else not go in at all. Stepping out opens one up to criticism, but I can handle that.
So why do I march?
I march for the Albanian woman I took a call from at work who spoke of all the things she loved about America and how much better it was than her homeland.
I march for the scared children who are unable to speak out themselves.
I march for the Asylum seekers who have fled rape, violence and persecution only to have the face the same here.
I march for my Goddaughter and my niece, because I want them them to grow up in a world that is better than this.
And I march as an immigrant myself, fighting for others to earn the same rights and privileges I have to build a life here in the States.
Our particular group was small but mighty. There were around 100 of us total and we walked across a 2.1 mile bridge in 95 degree heat. We were white, black, Latino, young and old. I was pleasantly surprised at how many of the group were Christian. I told myself I would not attend the march if God didn’t want me to, but He kept constantly affirming He did, so I went. We had a few hecklers and “Build that wall!” folks but otherwise were allowed to protest peacefully.
The organizers gave everyone the option of walking back over or getting a ride. I was one of the few who chose to walk back over. I do not regret this. I was sweating buckets and about ready to pass out when I reached the end but I did it. Every step was worth it. Every step mattered. This wasn’t for me, it was for them.
This was the first four miles of many more I expect to walk.
I will not stay silent anymore. The shoes are back on.
I’m marching again.
(I’m the one with the red beard)