Tag Archives: Election

Women’s March on NYC

Yesterday was a hard day. The world as I know it fundamentally changed and I am still working on coming to terms with what comes next.

As of now, people around the world raised their voices in support of one another.

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I joined them here in New York City, attending the Women’s March as a demonstration of what I believe in and what I stand for. Being part of such a jubilant, supportive, loving, optimistic, hopeful crowd is an experience I will never forget. Even the chanting was overwhelmingly an expression of solidarity, a promise to look out for those around us as we enter uncharted waters.

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Our city!
Our streets!

Your body, your choice!
My body, my choice!

Who rules the world?
Girls!

Show me what democracy looks like!
This is what democracy looks like!

There is a great deal of uncertainty still, with remaining confirmation hearings, important issues pages disappearing from the White House website, and a lot of unanswered questions about what Trump actually believes. While the people wait, they cry out. Better late than never.

I am woman, hear me roar.

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“Organize, agitate, educate, must be our war cry.” – Susan B. Anthony

Two Days Till Friday

All of my news updates are about Donald Trump, confirmation hearings, and predictions for the Trump presidency that will begin on Friday. A colleague asked me if we’re watching the inauguration in our social studies classes. With high school kids, we might. At the very least, we would pick out clips from the inauguration to watch in class together and discuss. As a middle school, we decided to televise the inauguration in our larger spaces and allow students to watch during their lunch and recess periods. I’ll be curious to see who chooses to do that.

I’m uncomfortable with the way the confirmations hearings have gone, though not surprised in the least. I’m resigned to the idea that my worst fears, which can be summarized as giving power to people who care not at all for other people, will be realized. I don’t like it, but I can no longer say that I’m shocked or astonished or appalled. That is sad in itself.

There’s nothing I can do to change what will happen Friday, but it is important to me to make clear what I stand for.

That’s why I’m attending the Women’s March on NYC on Saturday.

The Women’s March mission statement reads: “To provide a safe and accepting platform for supporters of equality to rally and march in promotion of civil rights for every human regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, disability, religion or creed.”

That’s what I stand for. There’s a lot that I believe the world needs, and this seems like a good place to start.

If you’d like to attend and need a buddy, please reach out through the contact page. I’m happy to include you with my group.

Image credit: The Human First Society

PS I’ve always used “’til” as a shortened form of “until”, but today I decided to look it up (because I aim to learn one new thing every day) and it turns out that “till” actually came before until and doesn’t only mean “cash register” while “’til” is actually etymologically incorrect. So that’s new and exciting for me!

What Scares Me

My sixth graders have recently come up with a game. Before class begins, they hide just inside our classroom while I wait outside the door greeting each student as he or she walks in. While I’m doing this, the students inside the room jump out and yell, “Boo!” And then they laugh uproariously when I turn around slowly with my eyebrows raised, completely unfazed.

What my sixth graders don’t realize, among other things, is that part of teaching middle school means constantly being prepared for anything and taking it all in stride even when you aren’t.

The first time this happened, the kids asked in awe, “How are you not scared?”

I replied simply, “I’m not afraid of anything.”

They were stunned. One student spent two days listing off different events or activities that might scare me (i.e. a tarantula in my bedroom, climbing a mountain, skydiving) and consistently expressed surprise when I disagreed that each would be scary. While a tarantula in my bedroom might be uncomfortable and concerning and skydiving might be nerve-wracking and exhilarating, neither strike me as remotely scary.

“Things” don’t scare me. They never have.

Truth be told, however, I am more afraid now than I ever remember being.

Real Fears
With Donald Trump as the President-elect, there’s a lot to be afraid of.

And I am.

I am a woman, a naturalized US citizen (and I vividly remember the anxiety in our house when we applied for and received our Green Cards), and a religious minority. The vast majority Trump’s rhetoric and early policy proposals hit right where it hurts.

I have been inappropriately touched, spoken to, and spoken about on the subway. More than once. More than twice.

I have seen swastikas spraypainted on more than a few buildings.

My reproductive rights are at risk. As a result, so is my health. The affordability and accessibility of healthcare is uncertain.

My status as a person has plummeted and I no longer feel safe when I go running after dark.

I care deeply about the well-being of all people all over the world and of the health of the planet itself, so just about everything else Trump says is also cause for concern. My heart goes out to everyone who is a victim of the hatred caused by fear, which is a constantly increasing number. America promised to stand for the “tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free” and I will. I purposely smile every time I see a women in a hijab and men holding hands on the street.

Stand strong. I stand with you.

I am afraid of the rhetoric that half this country has deemed acceptable.

In short, everything about the recent US presidential election scares me.

And I need to keep bringing it up because I refuse to sit by and wait for history to repeat itself. We know what happens when fear gets the better of us. We fought World War II already. An estimated 50 million to 80 million people died.

Personal Fears
These are irrelevant compared to the much more significant discussion above, but I’m going to include them anyway. If my fears about the political state of this country and the world are enough for you, stop reading here. (No hard feelings! Come back soon!)

Otherwise, here we go:

I’m afraid of being alone forever. I’m afraid of never being able to express my love for others with the depth, intensity, and care that I desperately want to. I’m afraid no one will love me enough to keep me.

I’m afraid of not making a difference in this world. I’m afraid of not making it better.

Looking Ahead
My sixth graders ask, “How are you not scared?”

I am.

Bu my sixth graders don’t need to know. They are already far more attuned to racism, sexism, violence, xenophobia, anti-immigration sentiment, anti-LGBT sentiment, discrimination, prejudice, and other issues than I was at their age. They live in a world dominated by fear, and this is where that fear has brought us.

Afraid? Very much so.

Giving up? Not on your life.

Now more than ever, I am committed to understanding the concerns of those around me. As I do so, I will continue working to build a world that is truly sustainable, better, and more peaceful for all who call it home.

Please join me.

Fear is the main source of superstition and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom. – Bertrand Russell