Another View: Why I Didn’t March
By guest blogger: Angela Rosas (Founder & CEO of Chicas Latinas de Sacramento and Director of Mercury Public Affairs) (@angelarunsamuck)
While many of my friends and colleagues spent Saturday participating in The Women’s March, I went to yoga. I had no interest in marching, yet struggled with this feeling because I should have.
I too want equal rights and to keep men from making decisions about my ovaries — I SHOULD be marching, leading and demanding.
Arriving at my yoga studio on Saturday morning I was pleased to discover an abundance of available parking spots and mat space. But I was most entertained by the fact that all five of us in class were women of color. I repeat, at my East Sacramento yoga studio, there was not one white woman in sight.
I spent the duration of class mulling over why the five of us chose not to attend the march and why the rest of our (traditionally packed and fair-skinned) classmates did. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I needed to heal. My mind, body, and soul were depleted from the week. I had little to give and what energy I did have, was not going to be spent on a march that didn’t represent me.
After a week full of #MeToo’s, shithole countries, a train-wreck shutdown, racists CHIP vs. DACA arguments (used as white vs. brown political pawns), and feeling as though my family and I were constantly being judged on “merit” because of the color of our skin. I’m convinced my country hates me and my native blood-line.
Saturday afternoon I visited family and almost served myself pozole before offering to serve my boyfriend, thankfully I caught myself. While there I learned that my grandmother became a grandmother at the age of 31 — there was no #MeToo uproar then, because #ThatsLife. I recall the women in our family returning to their low-wage (multiple) jobs immediately after giving birth, because family leave was a white woman thing.
Despite all the traumas the women in my life have experienced — mental health and depression, also white women things. Earning 79 cents to the dollar of a white man, you guessed it, a white woman thing. Latinas face the steepest obstacle to closing the gender wage gap, earning 54 cents to the dollar. Unsurprisingly, a majority of our black and brown sisters live in low-income neighborhoods that suffer from health disparities and lack access to services, which we are to raise children in — children who are expected to compete with children born to white mothers.
As a woman in her 30’s, my family is hopeful that I will bring a brown child into this world, but how can I? To my black sisters, I can’t begin to imagine what it must be like to bring a black baby into this world. I’m not positive the love of a mother is enough to protect a black or brown baby anymore, I’m not sure it ever has.
What a privilege it must be to feel empowered, heard by your community, and proudly participate in a march that represents you. I hope your day of activism brings the change you all are seeking.
As the founder of a local nonprofit aimed at empowering Latinas and a consultant for a health equity foundation, my life is a constant march and fight, but I don’t get to put my sign down to rest my arms nor do I have an annually city-backed stage. I am an advocate 24/7, defending myself, community, and vulnerable populations daily — oftentimes from other women. It is exhausting and defeating, and my voice is far from empowered. I advocate out of necessity.
On Saturday, thousands of individuals and families took to the streets to march for women’s rights. I hope to experience the same privilege one day, but this year I spent the day healing and strengthening with my sisters of color and connecting with my Mexican-American family. Because until black and brown women are on an equal playing field with our white sisters, we remain far behind in the fight for equality. Participating in a Women’s March (in one of the nation’s most diverse cities) that doesn’t acknowledge and address the inequality between the women in our community, only decreases the visibility of our fight and weakens our voices — not a price I’m willing to pay.
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