This post is not an easy one to write, but it’s a necessary one. I’ve been living in a place of fear–physically, mentally, and emotionally–for too long now, and I’m done with that. That’s no way to live. Not speaking up is not who I am. It’s not who I was raised to be.
I’m with her, y’all, and I’m not ashamed. If fans of the other side don’t have to stay silent, why should I?
I’m with her because I believe in Equality. Of all kinds.
I believe that a woman doing the same job as a man deserves the same pay as a man for the same work. Not even the same pay. Maybe she deserves MORE pay because she’s BETTER.
I believe that a woman’s place is in the White House, the Senate, the House of Representatives, sitting on the Supreme Court, and in every position on down to county commissioner for the smallest city in the country, and I want my daughter to know that.
When Emma looks at me and says “I want to be a President and a mom” I don’t want her to think for a second that it isn’t possible, because it IS possible.
My children will never remember a time when it wasn’t possible for a woman to be President, or a Black man for that matter, and that is just…mindblowing. Amazing. It’s not something I ever imagined as a child, mostly because I was taught that women shouldn’t be President because we shouldn’t get to tell men what to do or hold positions of authority.
I believe that it doesn’t matter who you love. You should be able to marry that person and you should be afforded the same benefits as the heterosexual couple next door. I believe that you should be accepted for who YOU are and not who society tells you to be.
My aunt was transgender in a time before “transgender” was even a mainstream word. She transitioned in the 70s, completely, and for most of my early life, I had no idea she’d been assigned male at birth. (Not even when I walked in on her and her husband when I was 5…)
I was about 8 when I found out, maybe 9. My grandfather thought I needed to know (I didn’t) and took it upon himself to tell me by showing me old family photos where there were three boys in the family instead of two.
I didn’t entirely understand what it meant, and I couldn’t understand why it was a big deal aside from his message of “it’s an abomination” and “he’ll go to Hell.” That wasn’t something I could wrap my head around. This was his child. How…what? I…
She was my aunt. That’s all I’d ever known. That’s all I ever knew.
For the rest of my family, it wasn’t a big deal. No one talked about it. No one ever brought it up. It just wasn’t a thing. They accepted her, as they should. They loved her, even when depression made her hard to love.
Over the years it has often felt like this acceptance has only ever extended to her. Anyone else in a similar place is wrong, bad, sinful, etc. and should use the bathroom corresponding to their privates. (That’s…sort of why we call them privates.)
I’m with her because I believe in women’s reproductive rights.
When we were thinking of starting a family, I found The Bump and eventually landed on a forum for women trying to conceive. We were with each other–hundreds of us–through infertility, pregnancy, birth, more pregnancy, more birth, and also baby loss. Those losses, each one of them, from the earliest to the latest, were tragic and devastating and heartbreaking.
Some of the women I met there have made the heartbreaking choice to end their pregnancies when they went in at 20 weeks and learned that something had happened with the baby’s development and the baby wouldn’t survive. They wanted to be prepared and make plans to bury their child. They wanted to say goodbye on their own terms, in their own way.
Not being able to understand making that choice doesn’t mean being able to tell other women they can’t make it. That’s not how this works. And the number of abortions that happen in that stage of pregnancy is somewhere around less than 2%.
Moms do not abort their children the day before they’re set to give birth. That doesn’t happen. Ever. Anywhere. Abortion is not something women do with no thought given to what they’re doing, and the legislation surrounding abortion is absurd and borders on emotional abuse.
If we want to lower abortion in the first trimester, the period when the VAST majority of abortions occur, we have to get real about sex education and contraception.
We can’t live in a Puritan bubble where we tell girls “hey, just keep your legs closed, and if you don’t you’re a whore and you deserve whatever happens to you.” And we only say that to girls, y’all. Boys? Meh. They’ll be boys.
When we teach our boys to respect our girls as PEOPLE and not sex objects, and when we teach our girls to respect themselves and their bodies and we protect their choices, we teach them how to protect themselves and we lower abortions. Dramatically.
When we understand and accept the FACT that the chance they’ll have sex as teens or as young, unmarried women, is greater than the chance that they won’t, we lower abortions.
If you’re anti-abortion, think back to when you became sexually active. How old were you? Did you have access to contraception? The pill? A condom?
I was 20. It was unprotected. I didn’t sleep until my period started because I was CERTAIN that I had just altered the course of my life. I had, but I didn’t understand how yet.
Soon after, I started taking the pill. I had insurance, but as a college student $25 a month for a pack of pills was a lot to budget. My life was forever changed because I began to understand the issues surrounding access to contraceptives.
When the state of Colorado made contraceptives free for teens, their birth rate among that age group PLUMMETED. You know what else plummeted? Abortion rates in the state.
I’m with her because there IS a solution and it does not involve setting women’s reproductive rights back 40 years. Abortions will still happen. The question is whether or not we want women to die from them. (And if you do, if you’re okay with that, with women dying from abortions, you cannot call yourself pro-life.)
I’m with her because I believe in correcting racial injustice
I don’t always feel qualified to speak on this topic because I cannot and will not ever understand what it’s like to be a person of color in our society.
I do feel qualified to listen and take to heart the messages my friends speak and amplify their voices whenever I can.
I know the statistics about higher rates of incarceration for young Black men and women for crimes white kids would get away with. I’ve seen the ways Black and white children are treated differently in public school systems, even and especially in the affluent ones.
I’m with her because I believe racial profiling is unjust. I’m with her because I believe some members of our nation’s police forces can do better.
I’m with her because the history of our country is that our Black and Brown citizens have survived unconscionable things for centuries, and it’s time we got serious about looking racism in the eyes and calling it what it is.
Ugly, hateful, and deplorable.
And passive participation in those systems of oppression is just as bad as active participation. When you know better, you do better. You don’t stick your head in the sand and pretend it isn’t happening.
I’m with her because I believe in mental health care access for all.
I believe we need serious, sustainable, on-going efforts to address maternal mental health care in this country. It’s why I do the work I do with Postpartum Progress. We must change the conversation and the circumstances for the thousands of women who develop a postpartum mood disorder after having children.
And we need paid maternity and paternity leave so we can catch up to the rest of the world. Hillary supports that and so do I.
But it’s not just moms who need mental health care access.
I don’t hide the fact that I suffer from anxiety and depression. I don’t believe in keeping that to myself because that perpetuates stigma and I’m not about that life.
1 in 5 adults in America (and 17 MILLION children) have a mental illness.
That is a lot of people, and the vast majority of them do not have access to mental health care. Those around them don’t have access to suicide prevention courses, and we’re losing more Americans to suicide than at any time in the past 30 years, including a surge in children ages 10 to 14.
One of my brothers started using drugs as a teenager. (Actually, both of my brothers did, but I’ll get to that.) We didn’t know it for a very long time, but he was self-medicating bipolar disorder. He continued self-medicating eventually settling on heroin as his drug of choice.
For a while it had been cough syrup, meth, and any pain reliever he could get his hands on.
He was taken to rehab two or three times and each time released after 72 hours with a prescription for an anti-depressant and a note to call his doctor. A doctor he didn’t have. (So, surprise, surprise, I’m with her because I believe in universal health care and substance abuse treatment.)
That same brother died by suicide a year ago this month.
I can’t help but wonder how his life might have been different if with affordable access to treatment that worked.
I’m with her because I believe in prison reform.
The same brother who died by suicide spent time in jail once or twice for crimes related to his drug-seeking behavior, and our younger brother is currently incarcerated for drug-related offenses.
He might get out in March. He’s been there since 2014.
In my younger brother’s case, he deserves to be where he is. It was his third strike. He thought himself invincible, even after he’d been proven wrong before.
But even if he deserves to be there, there are still serious problems with our prison system.
We shouldn’t send people to jail when they need rehab for drug use and addiction. My middle brother might still be alive if he had received mental health care, rehabilitation, and job training services instead of jail.
And we have to end the for-profit system which fuels the school-to-prison pipeline and which incarcerates young people, especially Black and minority young people, for minor crimes at extraordinarily high rates.
The for-profit prison system is a disgrace.
I’m with her because I believe in fixing immigration, not ending it.
My family, these people I love more than life itself, we wouldn’t exist today if not for an immigrant. My life would look completely different if not for the bravery of a woman who decided to leave her home country and come here.
Sure, it’s easy to paint a picture of “immigrants” as “poor people” and “criminals” and Muslims or Mexicans. But that’s just what it is. A picture painted for people who are prone to react from a place of fear instead of knowledge.
I don’t understand how people can look at pictures of the Syrian boy rescued from a bombing, blood and dirt caked on his face, and not want to grab him up and wrap him in hugs and safety and love.
I don’t understand how people blatantly dismiss the statistics–facts–which say that most “illegal” immigrants in our country are here “illegally” because they have overstayed their Visas. Their legal form of entrance.
Are some immigrants criminals? Sure. Some probably are. But Christopher Columbus sort of stole an entire continent from its inhabitants and nobody bats an eye about him. (Except for those people who do.)
I’m with her because I believe we must protect our environment and our resources.
I’m with her because I believe in quality education for all of us, from preschool to college.
I’m with her because I believe in common sense gun measures.
I’m with her because I believe in our children and our future.
I’m with her because I believe we are stronger together.