What started as a Facebook post created by a retired attorney from Hawaii to protest the results of the election turned, overnight, into a massive movement. During the Women’s March on Washington, (and on many other cities around the U.S.) hundreds of thousands of people will march in resistance to everything the new administration has openly supported—bigotry, racism, sexism, cyberbullying, the list is endless.
Donald Trump has not only targeted women (remember the “locker room talk”?). He has ridiculed a physically impaired reporter, threatened the LGBT community, treated people of color as tokens (“Look at my African-American over here.”), and tweeted disdainfully at anyone who has opposed him in the slightest.
Despite today’s event’s name, it isn’t just a march for women, but a march for anyone who believes in civil rights, common decency and having respect for others, regardless of their sexual preference, gender, race or beliefs. And that is why I will be marching today in Sacramento. Though I am not the target of this new President’s attacks—indeed, I’m among the privileged few, as a white male, who probably will not suffer under this administration because of how I look, though many loved ones and causes I care about deeply are in peril—I will not be a bystander. I refuse to stand aside while those I know and love are attacked.
I know that I have been privileged all my life, having grown up in a middle-class white home where gender roles were firmly in place.
I don’t know what it is to be a black American and genuinely fear for my safety around law enforcement. Or to have people discriminate against me because of the color of my skin. I was never told not to run in public, or not to have my hands in my pockets.
I can’t tell you what it is to be a woman and carry that burden of being labeled a sex object by society—to be gawked at by the opposite sex and to always have the thought that one catcall could escalate into a sexual assault or rape that I could be blamed for because of my “provocative” appearance.
I will never know what it’s like to grow up knowing that who I am on the outside does not represent who I am on the inside and to be labeled strange, or much worse, for that.
We are each trying to make a life in this world. I’m not writing this to pat myself on the back—woo-hoo, a white guy realizes he’s privileged—I’m writing because I believe, for change to happen, I, and men like me, need to stand up and support those whose voices aren’t heard, whose rights are stripped from them and who are victims of hate.
Today, I will march in support of the rights of every person. I will march for my lesbian, gay and transgender friends and family. I will march because I want safety and equality for every person of every race, religion and background. I will march for all women because our mothers, sisters, cousins and friends are our equals. I will march tomorrow on California’s capitol, alongside an estimated 16,000 other people who feel it’s imperative we resist.
The future might seem grim from where we stand right now—but if we stand with and for one another, there will always be a future to look forward to.
David Flores is a student at UC Davis, where he’s studying English and journalism. He writes about sports for the California Aggie. You can find his work at https://theaggie.org.