Why I March

Why I March

"This is not a moment, it's the movement."
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This Sunday, January 21st, marks the anniversary of one of the most special things I have ever been a part of. Last year's Women's March instilled hope in me after the devastating loss of the 2016 election. With the anniversary march approaching on Saturday, I decided to talk about why I march, and will continue to march, for people everywhere.

I march for my foremothers, whose own marches paved the way for my activism today.

Yes, we still have a long way to go in facing injustice simply for being female. However, without the Suffragettes, we would not have the right to voice our opinions in the effective way that we do today. It's not just limited to the Suffragettes, though. People like Geraldine Ferraro, Shirley Chisholm, and yes, even Hillary Clinton, have since opened up an even wider path for women in politics. I think it is part of my own destiny to follow in their footsteps but also pave my own path.

I march because I am a pre existing condition.

My whole livelihood is affected by my endometriosis. On top of that, I don't hear in one ear, so I am basically a Republican's worst nightmare. Multiple government officials have threatened to take away healthcare coverage from people like me. I won't apologize for having these conditions. Until Republicans like Paul Ryan walk in my shoes, though, I would suggest that they shut up.

I march for the women who cannot have their voices heard.

I have taken a stand in the past year when talking about my sexual assault and mental health struggles. Some women, though, have found it increasingly difficult to do so in the wake of the Trump administration. I march for the women who search for their voice amongst the deafening silence that comes with pressures of society.

I march as a survivor of sexual assault.

"Victim" is a word that is so often thrown around in mainstream media. My identity, however, is not that of a victim, but of a survivor. Accepting that my innocence was robbed from me was hard, but now I feel it is my duty to march for those who do not have a voice. In a sense, the march last year gave me exactly what I needed to find the small voice from within. I listened to my inner activist, and she bloomed from the seeds that had been planted a long while back.

I march to pave the way for my own destiny.

I think that I have some pretty incredible role models to follow. However, it's all about making my own impact on the world. The Women's March has given me my voice, and it's something that only hate can truly drive out. I like to think that the most powerful force that humans have is love. By participating in the Women's March, I am surrounded by love and people who empower me. The saying goes that "empowered women empower women." In the case of the Women's March, there are not just one or two women ready to do that, but a whole movement ready to see its members succeed.

To be just one part of the wonderful phenomenon known as the Women's March, click here to see your local anniversary march.

Cover Image Credit: nola.com

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An Open Letter to the Person Who Still Uses the "R Word"

Your negative associations are slowly poisoning the true meaning of an incredibly beautiful, exclusive word.
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What do you mean you didn't “mean it like that?" You said it.

People don't say things just for the hell of it. It has one definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "To be less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one's age."

So, when you were “retarded drunk" this past weekend, as you claim, were you diagnosed with a physical or mental disability?

When you called your friend “retarded," did you realize that you were actually falsely labeling them as handicapped?

Don't correct yourself with words like “stupid," “dumb," or “ignorant." when I call you out. Sharpen your vocabulary a little more and broaden your horizons, because I promise you that if people with disabilities could banish that word forever, they would.

Especially when people associate it with drunks, bad decisions, idiotic statements, their enemies and other meaningless issues. Oh trust me, they are way more than that.

I'm not quite sure if you have had your eyes opened as to what a disabled person is capable of, but let me go ahead and lay it out there for you. My best friend has Down Syndrome, and when I tell people that their initial reaction is, “Oh that is so nice of you! You are so selfless to hang out with her."

Well, thanks for the compliment, but she is a person. A living, breathing, normal girl who has feelings, friends, thousands of abilities, knowledge, and compassion out the wazoo.

She listens better than anyone I know, she gets more excited to see me than anyone I know, and she works harder at her hobbies, school, work, and sports than anyone I know. She attends a private school, is a member of the swim team, has won multiple events in the Special Olympics, is in the school choir, and could quite possibly be the most popular girl at her school!

So yes, I would love to take your compliment, but please realize that most people who are labeled as “disabled" are actually more “able" than normal people. I hang out with her because she is one of the people who has so effortlessly taught me simplicity, gratitude, strength, faith, passion, love, genuine happiness and so much more.

Speaking for the people who cannot defend themselves: choose a new word.

The trend has gone out of style, just like smoking cigarettes or not wearing your seat belt. It is poisonous, it is ignorant, and it is low class.

As I explained above, most people with disabilities are actually more capable than a normal human because of their advantageous ways of making peoples' days and unknowingly changing lives. Hang out with a handicapped person, even if it is just for a day. I can one hundred percent guarantee you will bite your tongue next time you go to use the term out of context.

Hopefully you at least think of my friend, who in my book is a hero, a champion and an overcomer. Don't use the “R Word". You are way too good for that. Stand up and correct someone today.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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2019 Just Means That The 2020 Election Is Coming

I don't want things to be that way, people running for President make it that way.

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The 2020 election has begun with Senator Elizabeth Warren announcing that she has formed an exploratory committee to run for president.

Other likely candidates include Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Joe Biden, Beto O'Rourke, Michael Bloomberg, Sherrod Brown, Kirsten Gillibrand, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders. And those are only the people eating at the adult's table, there are other Democrats that will probably throw their hats in the ring just for some publicity.

The last time a primary began to decide the opponent for an unpopular incumbent Republican president that had lost the popular vote in his first campaign was just 15 years ago, in 2004 when John Kerry became the nominee to challenge President George W. Bush.

Kerry may have lost the election, but he did have an easy primary. Kerry beat out his early challengers and went on to easily win almost all of the primary caucuses and elections.

I do not think that 2020 will be so easy and that is due in part to 2016. The 2016 primary may have eclipsed 2008 in terms of being one of the most consequential primaries in US history.

2016 showed the ideological split within the Democratic Party, with many New Democrats, socially liberal economically conservative centrists, holding most of the power within, while there's a strong grassroots force urging the party leftwards. Critics will claim Hillary Clinton lost because she was not left-wing enough. And Bernie Sanders's surprising success shows that anybody who wants to be the nominee has to appeal to the Sanders demographic.

This article is not really here to endorse any candidate, you can read my other articles to figure out who I'm voting for, it is however here to point out just how difficult it will be to win the nomination.

A candidate has to, according to the so-called experts: be left-leaning but also be a centrist, and be able to get minorities out to vote but also appeal to some Trump voters that they think they can win over by calling out the President's divisive tactics.

Trickle-down economics and massive deregulation always throws the economy into a recession, but the question now is when will that happen? If it happens during the 2020 election it's safe to say it's over for Trump, but if a Democrat has to challenge a Republican while the economy is doing great, it will be all the more difficult. The election will turn into a debate over so-called "social" issues (assuming Trump does not take us to war).

Issues that seem to be on most Americans' minds are healthcare and immigration. The healthcare debate will turn into a debate amongst Democrats over whether or not single-payer is possible and will likely be one of the most divisive issues of the primary. Immigration will be easy, every Democrat will go the safe route and boldly proclaim that putting children in cages and letting them die is not good. This will lead to Trump accusing them of being Antifa thugs.

The road to the White House is not meant to be easy. You need to fight hard to win the hearts of Americans, unless you are a Republican then you just need to win over rich Americans and let the electoral college do the rest of the work.

But seriously, we need to start the process of finding someone that will undo the years of horror unleashed by the Trump administration and also put the country in a new direction. Someone that will help the old and the young, and all workers. It's time for a leader that works for the American laborer, not the American entrepreneur, and above all, it is time for a new president.

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