Why I March
By Michelle Pedzich
Why do I march? I keep reflecting on this question in light of our upcoming mid-term elections and current political environment. I also have been bothered by recent references to groups of women gathering to resist as “mobs”. The marches and protests I have attended have all been peaceful and invigorating, which I believe to be the case in almost all of the women’s marches. There are people of all backgrounds exercising their right to protest a variety of issues they are concerned about. I have seen cops giving high fives to marchers and protestors. Signs always abound, many entertaining, some sobering, outlining issues that are important to the sign bearer. The marches and rallies I have attended have been outpourings of love, and not hate.
That being said, I know many, including some of my family and friends, wonder why I would bother to protest. Really, I have it good right? What do I have to complain about? Don't I already think that America is great? Here is what I want to share.
I march not because I feel that I don't have certain rights, but because I am worried that certain rights will continue to be trampled on by our current administration. Specifically, I believe that ALL people should have the same rights. This includes my GLBTQ friends, of whom I have many. This includes those that are trying to make a fresh start in this country, fleeing from countries where their lives are at risk. I march because I know others are impacted by daily acts of racism and this is normal to them. I march because I know funding is being cut for programs that support individuals with disabilities, including mental health issues. I march because of violence happening in our schools and in our places of worship. My list can go on and on. Your list may be different from mine, but I bet your passion is not, and I respect that.
I also have heard or read comments that have stated, “Don't women have something better to do then march or protest?” I am insulted by this statement. Clearly millions across the globe feel that the answer to that is no, and one of the most important things we can do is to raise our voices up in solidarity to support what democracy looks like.
After reflecting on the past marches I have participated in, I feel HOPE. It is reassuring and comforting to me to know that MILLIONS across the world are ready to take action in their communities to protect a wide array of rights. I am proud of participating in these historical moments and in my heart, I hope the momentum continues. I implore others to vote in their local elections and participate in the communities in which they live, work and play. Volunteer, donate, and MAKE a difference. Raise your voice when you see discrimination or harassment. Support others who have finally found their voice and are courageously speaking out about past abuse. Be part of the solution, in a peaceful but firm way. RESIST.
I know not everyone that reads this will agree with me, and that is okay. The democracy we live in allows us to have a difference in opinion.
So, that is why I March. I hope to see you in Washington DC on January 19, 2019!
Michelle lives in Canandaigua, NY with her husband Keith and daughter Sophie. She is Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at Canandaigua National Bank & Trust Company. Michelle is an active member of the Canandaigua community and serves on the Canandaigua City School District Board and serves as a Director on the Canandaigua Chamber of Commerce Board. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, reading, mentoring young professionals, and spending time with her family.
*Important Note: Remember the local Women’s March on Jan 19, 2019 in Seneca Falls NY, the birthplace of Women’s Rights, if you cannot get to Washington DC,