Why Maya Marches

 

 

Thirteen year old Maya shared this letter with us about her experiences of discrimination at school and how she “lucked out in the Mom department.”

PHOTO:Carmen Jost

Why Schools for Children Marches

There is no better way to ‘walk the talk’ of equity, tolerance, mutual respect and human dignity than by asking our staff to join the Women’s March. It is far too easy to offer platitudes about our children being our future than it is to stand up for the type of world we want them to inherit.Our schools and programs remain committed to supporting students with diverse learning styles and varied family backgrounds and configurations.

We march to affirm their dignity and value in our local and global communities.Our teachers and counselors educate children about the harmful effects of  the ‘isms: racism, sexism, classism and all the ways they divide us. We walk in support of the values we hold dear  at Schools for Children. We walk out of concern over the shrill voices and destructive behaviors that threaten to diminish us as individuals and to divide us as a people.We walk to take a stand against bullies.

Whether on school playgrounds or in positions of leadership, there is no place for threatening language, demeaning comments or intimidation of those who may be weaker or less privileged. We march because there must be room in our society for each of us to play meaningful roles in crafting a future of peace, hope and mutual support. We walk to stand up for our children and their futures.

 

Theodore H. Wilson III, Ph.D. is President, Schools for Children, Inc., a Massachusetts nonprofit organization creating and managing great schools and educational services, including  early childhood and elementary schools, afterschool programs, and special education schools and services to help keep students from falling through the cracks in our educational system. Schools for Children also develops new education services and innovations, and consults with other schools, districts and human service providers to enhance the quality and performance of their services.

Why Charu Marches

The day after the election, I sobbed and dabbed my eyes and kept a lump in my throat inside during my candidate’s concession speech in front of a lot of people at work. Three days later, away from everyone, in the shower, I cried so hard and so loud with so many tears that it felt like someone I loved had died, taking all hope for a certain future me with them. In that moment, I felt a slipping, a losing of grip, like everything was gone, and that nothing could be trusted anymore or taken at face value.

Did that old white man driving past yell at me and give me the finger in an ordinary act of road rage or because he suddenly noticed the color of skin? In the many days since the election, I have felt utter helplessness and powerlessness as I hear more of what the President-elect has to say, and what some of his appointees believe in. I have found myself shaking my head, thinking, “There’s nothing I can do about this.”

So I march to find a community early in this new administration that can help me find a voice, and I march to overcome the inertia that comes from watching people with great, unreachable amounts of power say things that scare me. I march now because I am afraid that otherwise I will default to a private and ineffective cry and into a state of paralysis in the face of the next four years.

Charu helps organize the South Asian Coalition for the Boston Women’s March. She is a former journalist and advocate and now is a content strategy and marketing director at InCrowd, Inc., a healthcare IT startup.

PHOTO: lpotatol
B
enches

Why Women Working For Oceans Marches

It has been a celebratory couple of years for our ocean. We have witnessed the designation of several key ocean National Monuments, finally felt committed as a nation to the Paris Climate Accord, embraced alternative energy development, nationally banned microbeads and watched the topic of plastic pollution rise to the consciousness of the world with considerable action taken on changing single use plastic usage. The world now knows that 97% of scientists believe that climate change is accelerated by the choices that we’ve made and that the ocean is warming because of those actions. There is no looking back.

Women Working for Oceans members will march on January 21st at the Boston Women’s March for America because we have to defend the progress of our Nation and protect the future for our children. We march because the ocean is our life, our livelihood and its destruction harms the most vulnerable of people across the globe. Climate justice is social justice. All deserve to have a clean, healthy ocean and planet.

Women Working for Oceans (W2O) is a Boston based group that promotes a healthy and sustainable ocean through education that inspires advocacy and action.

PHOTO: Hillary Daniels

Why Sheetal Marches

As a child of hard-working immigrants, I believe all Americans have a right to pursue their dreams regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, or socio-economic background. I believe everyone should have access to affordable healthcare, and a woman has a right to choose. I believe in science. Right now, leadership of this country is trying to dismantle ideals held dear to millions. I am marching to let the president-elect know we are not going down without a fight. #readytorumble, #justhowiwasraised, #whyimarch

Sheetal co-leads the South Asian Coalition for the Boston Women’s March. She is a management consultant at Slalom and holds an MBA from Babson College.

PHOTO: Leslee_atFlickr

Why Roopa Marches

I march so that we can light a way to equality for all who follow. I march so that we can break down barriers that continue to persist in society. I march, so that our voices can be heard, and with each step, I hope we will get closer to creating a society where equality truly exists. We, as a society, are quick to compartmentalize one another and create an artificial divide, but are slow to realize the commonality between us. We need to focus on the fact that at our core we are one – we are human. And, the key to being human, in my opinion, is having the capacity to be kind to each other. We must build each other up. We must not discriminate based on factors like race, gender, sexual orientation, and ethnicity.

Personally, I have been lucky to have received an education (AS Honors in Computer Science, BS Honors in Science, and Doctorate in Jurisprudence – JD) and achieve all I have. I’m a lawyer with my own firm, a journalist, author, illustrator, TV host, model, pageant queen (Ms. Woman of Achievement International 2017), Girl Rising Ambassador, and an Ambassador for Indian Dreams Foundation. The latter two organizations focus on getting girls’ quality education and helping them achieve their goals. Unfortunately, many in our society have not been as lucky. Globally, over 62 million girls are not in school due to various societal and cultural barriers. They continue to substantially lag behind boys with regards to secondary school completion rates. They continue to earn less than their male counterparts who have the same qualifications as they do. This is not right.

We need to ensure that we bring our girls up in the world. As Gandhi said, “If you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate an entire family.” To ensure a stronger future, we need to allow our girls to come up in the world. I hope this march reminds us all about the need to support our girls and let them know that they too deserve to achieve everything they want to.

Roopa Modha has achieved success in a variety of disciplines: from law, entertainment, and science, to fashion, dance, and music. Her book, The Fish That Wanted to Go to School, encourages girls to stay in school. Due to her work for women’s rights, Roopa was selected to attend the White House’s Women Summit (2016) that celebrated women achievers and change-makers, as well as a NASA symposium for women in computer science. She has received many honors for her work, including a “certificate of special recognition” from US Senator Richard Blumenthal (CT), citation from US Congressman Jim Hines (CT), and proclamation from Mayor David R Martin (CT).

PHOTO:Michael Krigsman

 

Why Jean Marches

I am marching for my daughter. When I adopted her in 2001, I brought her home to a country I believed offered opportunity. On November 4, 2008, still a young girl, I brought her into the voting booth with me and let her circle the oval that said “Barack H. Obama” for President. Now as young women, after the election this past year, she was hit hard by the corrosive rhetoric that was all around us, and fearful and sad about what the future might hold for her. She is proud to be a Cambodian-American, proud to be an immigrant. I want to restore her faith and her confidence in the promise that America should hold for all its citizens.

Jean Monahan lives in Salem, MA, with her daughter, who is now a junior at Salem Academy Charter School. She is the author of three published works of poetry, Hands, Believe It or Not and Mauled Illusionist. She works full time in marketing at a local hospital. In the last twelve years she has been very involved in an all-volunteer, non-profit organization known as Cambodian Heritage Camp, where she has coordinated and also developed cultural programming working closely with many Cambodian-American community members and counselors, who generously share their Cambodian culture with the adoptive families.

PHOTO: Michael R
Beacon Hill

Why Sonya Marches

I woke up on November 9th not knowing what the future would hold for my family. As a Pakistani-American Muslim woman and child of immigrants, I was afraid. I hate feeling afraid.  So I choose, instead, to focus on the positive and to focus on action.

This march represents that to me —a place where we can put our energy, our warmth, along with our sense of community, and create something so much larger than just me and my fears.  I march because this is our generation’s opportunity to shine and to show the world, and each other, what our true values are.  Throughout the preparation of this march, I have met the most incredible inspiring women and have heard the stories of the many people that will be joining together on January 21st. I haven’t felt afraid since I signed up.

 

Sonya Khan is a graduate of Georgetown University and Boston University School of Public Health.  She is a program director for a health policy research non-profit and has a background in political event planning, health policy and drug development.

PHOTO: Nicholas Erwin

Why Karen Marches

I have been an activist for many decades and my issues are as diverse as the people who will be attending this march. I support the fight for women’s rights, those of us with disabilities, people of color and LGBT folks. 2016 was a terrible year politically for most of us and our friends, comrades, co-workers and others and I don’t believe anyone is safe if they believe in justice for more than a small number of privileged individuals.

I want to be part of the group that shows up to put a face on a country that does not look homogenous and nor should it. We look, speak and act differently. What I hope we have in common is a desire to work for justice – not just use the word as a way of simplifying the devastating issues we face in 2017 and beyond. I want to be part of making this country better as a middle-aged, wheelchair-using woman who has marched before and will not stop out of fear of reprisal. Together we are all a mighty wind.

Karen Schneiderman is a native Bostonian with a love for social equality and all its possibilities. In the past she taught English and Women’s Studies at several colleges in MA. Currently, she works as an activist for a non-profit assisting people with disabilities and helping them achieve their goals.

 

PHOTO: Niklas Tenhaef
Blue Hill

Why Kayla Marches

This is a series I did using photographs I’ve taken at recent protests in Boston rallying against hatred, xenophobia, sexism, homophobia, and more. While editing my photos, I noticed how much they looked like old protest photos from the 60’s and 70’s.

It made me realize that we are the next generation of the Civil Rights Movement. It was an empowering moment to realize this and see it with my own eyes, especially since a lot of the photos I took are of people I know. I decided to make my photos look like those iconic black and white Polaroids to pay homage to this realization. Many tell us not to protest, to go home and that protesting is pointless. At the same time we celebrate historic events like the Martin Luther King March and the fall of the Berlin Wall.

These events wouldn’t have occurred if the participants had listened to the people who told them to be silent. If you believe that marching is pointless, that the Civil Rights Movement is a thing of the past, that people shouldn’t speak up for what they believe in, I say please read this quote:

“To the people who say that it can’t be done, please move out of the way of the people who are doing it.” ~Mirah from the song “No Guns No Guns”

 

Kayla Rich is from Haverhill MA and a student at MASSART.
Click on each image to see it individually and click again to see it larger.

PHOTO: The March on Washington, August 28, 1963