Last weekend I posted about an amazing experience: my marching with hundreds of thousands of like-minded folks in the L.A. Women’s March last Saturday.
The organizers invited “anyone who stands for human rights, civil liberties, tolerance for diversity, and compassion for our shared humanity” to join the march.
One of my Facebook friends, Fred, commented on my post. “Hi, Peggy. I was not aware that women’s human rights have been taken away or are being taken away? If this is being done, good for the March?”
I responded to Fred with the following letter:
As I said in my post yesterday, I was marching in support of human rights. The majority of these rights have been legislated in our country over the course of my lifetime.
This occurred through the persistent efforts of ordinary people who saw injustices, struggled to combat them, and were victorious.
As I marched yesterday, I celebrated these rights and those who fought so bravely to attain them. In my heart there was, too, and continues to be, an ardent hope that these rights will remain a part of our American heritage.
Among these rights are, as you mentioned, women’s rights like the right to equal pay for equal work and the right for women to make decisions about their own health care, but also in my mind was the right of my son, Jeff, and his spouse, Siew, to continue to share in the many benefits that their marriage brings to them, just as my daughter, Beth, and her husband, Bryan, do.
I marched because I want our special-needs students to be treated with courtesy in their schools rather than to be mocked by other kids who are imitating their elders.
I marched so that Lyn, who was a member of our International Club at Hart High, would feel comfortable wearing her hijab without worrying that some bully might yank it off her head and stomp on it because he or she thinks that Lyn doesn’t have the right to be here.
I marched so that Marta, who was brought to California by her parents at the age of 4 years to escape the terrorists in her Central American country, can continue her studies at CSUN and become the teacher she has always dreamed of being.
And most heartbreaking of all, I marched because I want the little kindergarteners in whose class I volunteer to be able to sleep through the night rather than be awakened by nightmares about their parents being taken away from them.
So, Fred, while I marched yesterday for many reasons; two stand out. The first was to show my gratitude for the many wonderful rights and privileges that we enjoy in the United States.
The second was to express my heartfelt desire that these rights and privileges, as well as our compassion for others that has become the bedrock of our society, remain intact.
I hope that an open dialogue like this can continue with others who do not always agree with our political views. It is the only way that we will be able to preserve our humanity.
Peggy Stabile is a retired counselor from Hart and Valencia high schools and a retired adjunct counselor from College of the Canyons.