Saturday, February 4, 2017

Why I March

Why have I marched, and yelled, and donated money, and held signs big and small, so many times the past weeks?

It's not because I have a huge history of political activism. I don't, actually. I used to be more involved, in college, a familiar story, but I've fallen out of practice in the ensuing years. There are protests and movements I wish I had been part of, but really all I did was look on sympathetically as others took up the mantle.

It's not because I have a Muslim best friend, or because someone is my mother or my sister. It's not even because I'm a woman, a government employee, and someone with a chronic illness who depends on having health insurance.

It's not because my students are afraid of their president, afraid for their families, afraid because, as they said, "I feel like if I met him he would tell me to get out."

It is all of that, but it's not that.

It has to do with something that diabetes has taught me, actually. Which is that, when it comes down to it, there's just you and your body. Your brain. Your heart. Your own two feet. Your pancreas (or lack thereof).

And I can use my body to send a message. To people trapped in airports. To my contemporaries who would like to be speaking out but are rightfully afraid to draw attention to themselves. To women trapped in unwanted pregnancies. To people who walked so far and "broke the ocean in half to be here. Only to meet nothing that wants you."*

And with my own head, and heart, and body, I can tell these people. You are not alone. I am here. I have feet, I have a voice, and I will protect you.

*poem by the lovely and always topical Nayyirah Waheed

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