A wise kindergarten teacher taught this lesson every January. She would gather her students to play a game. Then she would have them look at their shoes. She’d tell them if they had any blue or red on their shoes they weren’t allowed to play the game. They had to sit and watch. Of course, the students that had blue and red on their shoes got very upset. The teacher would introduce a picture book about Rosa Parks or Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and read the story to the children. They’d discuss how it felt to be excluded, not accepted, not equal. Then everyone was welcome to join in on the game.
Imagine a country where everyone has the same rights. Imagine a country where everyone is accepted no matter their religion, the color of their skin, gender, gender identity, ability, language, or how much money they have in the bank. That’s why I marched.
I remember my friends in high school who couldn’t say who they were. I can’t imagine the pain they must have felt. I listened to a Christian mom tell me she didn’t accept her daughter because she was a lesbian. I recently heard about a private school that requires their girls to have their prom dresses pre-approved for fear that if the dress is “inappropriate” it will ignite a boy’s biological response. Really? When are we going to hold our boys to a higher standard and stop blaming females when they are sexually assaulted? Don’t ask what she was wearing. Ask why the boy felt he could touch her inappropriately.
I spent years as a foster mom caring for children of children, children of people who were mentally ill, children of drug addicts, children of parents in prison, children of the homeless. If you are someone who believes everyone is given the same opportunity to work hard and make something of themselves despite what we are born into, then please volunteer within the foster system. You will learn quickly that we are not all granted the same privileges at birth. When children are abused, neglected, homeless, hungry, raised by the mentally ill, tossed around by the foster system, or born addicted to drugs they are living and growing up in a world much different from the child that is held, cared for, and loved by a parent.
I marched because I care about people. All people! I marched because the violence I saw during the campaign, the change I witnessed in my community (hate sign in a restaurant, on cars, and words on Facebook) upset me. Our new president gave people permission to spout their hate, and I could no longer do nothing because doing nothing is the same as condoning it. When I watched the wise kindergarten teacher give her lesson and tell students they would be excluded from the game there were a few who spoke up for their friends. “That’s not fair. You can’t do that.” From the mouth of babes who were not yet taught to ostracize others who are different from them. They spoke what was in their heart. That’s why I marched.We are united in love and acceptance. Click here for some amazing pictures!