Silent Marchers is a series of stories from real women (and men) who wanted to march in the Women’s March on Washington and various sister marches across the nation, but could not be there for a variety of reasons. These are their stories of why they weren’t there, why they wish they could have been, and why they support this cause and all that it stands for. Their hope is that you might find yourself in one of their stories, and know you’re not alone. Together, we will resist.
My name is “Dave.” (But not really.)
I did not march. My reason is fairly simple.
I was afraid.
I was afraid of the sheer size of the crowd. (I do love visiting NYC, but even those crowds can start to get to me quickly.) But even more than the fear of the crowd? I was afraid of some major act of violence being perpetrated by those who disagreed with the march. I couldn’t help but picture some crazed gunman or a bomber…I suppose in retrospect that sounds lame. But at the time, it was a very vivid, very real concern.
I feel as though I let people down. Many of my close friends went to the march. I don’t really know if they were concerned about violence, but even if they were, they went. One of my dearest friends has major anxiety and an auto-immune disease, but she went. I just kept my original plan to go and visit family for the weekend, but kept track through Facebook. I was blown away by the sheer volume of people in attendance, and incredibly thankful that there was no violence.
To me, the march was about exercising the right to peaceful protest against the changes forthcoming in the new administration. Healthcare is being taken away from people who need it. Soon to follow will probably be other programs that assist the less fortunate. I’m not proud of it, but if it weren’t for some of those programs, I would not be here today. I spent the years of 18 to 24 without health insurance because I did not have access to it. I am well-accustomed to “the look” that you get when you push your cart up to the checkout and have to tell the cashier you’re paying with food stamps. (Most of the time, the look is from the person behind you, sizing up the items you lay on the conveyor belt, as if to say how DARE you buy name brand anything, let alone any sort of treat or snack. But every once in a great while, the look comes from the cashier, which somehow is worse.)
Protections in place that ban my employer from firing me simply because I’m gay are also at stake. Never mind the fact that I am damn good at my job, and being gay has no impact on my ability to do my job, there is now a distinct possibility that I, and many of my non-heterosexual friends, could be unemployed simply for existing.
I just find myself stunned that people were more offended by Ashley Judd using profanity and talking about menstruation than they were by the fact that our president said it was okay to grab women by their most private parts, and never owned up to it or apologized for it.
I’m sorry…I’ve turned this into something about me, and it’s not about me. Many of the people in my life, to whom I look up and admire, and love with all my heart, are women. And women deserve to be respected and protected, and not seen as property or “less than.”
Here’s the thing: people are going to judge you for not marching, at least until they hear your reasons (and in some cases, they might judge you regardless.) There is nothing you can do about that. But know that the march is only the first step. There are plenty of ways we can still make a difference and make our voices heard. There are Facebook groups that promote local events – from peaceful protests on the smaller scale, to postcard-writing parties, to how to contact your representatives.
Don’t feel bad for not marching.
Just find out what things you CAN do, and do them.
My name is “Dave.” (But not really.) And this was my Silent Marchers story.
“Most activism is brought about by us ordinary people.”
– Patricia Hill Collins