Society & Culture, Practice & Voice

Why We March

Just three short months ago the Women’s March on Washington was an idea. A small call-to-action which grew in diversity and inclusion.On Saturday, January 21, this small call-to-action has grown into a full-fledged, world-wide movement with a solid foundation and platform. I have to say, I’m proud. Just as thousands of others, I’ve watched the Women’s March on Washington and the Women’s March in Oklahoma develop almost entirely on Facebook. The March on Washington pulled in some key players to organize and the March on Oklahoma followed suit.

Through all of the questions, confusion, and excitement – they pulled it off. I’m so proud of all the people behind-the-scenes and out on front street. I’m proud of the fact we have been able to come together – with all of our intersectional oppressions, with all of our differences, with all of our attitudes, with all of our opinions, with all of our flaws, with all of our talent, with all of our hearts. We are all coming together to stand up for each other.

Several All Souls members, friends, and staff will be marching in the Women’s March on Oklahoma in Oklahoma City and in solidarity at the Tulsa Women’s March at John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park and in the Women’s March on Washington. We asked people who are participating to share their testimonies of why they will be marching. We are so grateful they shared their stories with us and we’ll be working to share their stories with you through our Facebook, Twitter, and this blog.

This morning, I began receiving #WhyIMarch testimonies, all of which have touched my heart and inspired my mind. I’m still trying to articulate my own testimony and admit I may be trying too hard. I’m so grateful for everyone who has shared their reasons and words with me. Below is the testimony written by Jaclyn L. Wertis. After reading it, I immediately called her. In part to ask for explicit permission to share with our readers. But in truth, I simply needed to hear this woman’s voice. So many of us have been the victims of sexual assault and discrimination. Jaclyn’s unapologetic outing of this truth struck my heart so deeply, I’m still trying to make sense of what I’m feeling. Jaclyn found her voice and through her words and fierce position I am finding mine. Thank you Jaclyn. I look forward to marching alongside you and all of our sisters and brothers on Saturday.

Jaclyn L Wertis wimJaclyn L Wertis, CG

I am a survivor of childhood sexual molestation and experienced sexual assault, sexual bias, and discrimination as an adult.

As a woman in the workplace, I worked beside men doing the same job being paid twice as much. I was told my opinion didn’t matter, and accused of being “too aggressive” for speaking my mind. I was passed over for promotions and hiring in favor of men with less experience and education.  I was pushed into the corner, groped, propositioned and subjected to derogatory sexual comments, but didn’t dare complain for fear of losing my job. I remained mute because no one cared! After all, I was “just” a woman.

In the late 60s I found my voice. I became a founding member of the Nebraska National Organization for Women. Doing volunteer work for NOW and other women’s organizations, I saw girls as young as 10 who had been raped by a family member forced to carry a child to full term because abortion was illegal. I saw women who supported a husband through college and career, only to be abandoned and impoverished after 50 years of marriage. I saw women and children beaten by abusive spouses and fathers forced to return to the situation because they had no alternative.

At a time when the core values of our country are being threatened, I feel an obligation to let those in power know that WE WILL NOT BE SILENT…WE WILL NOT GO BACKWARD. I stand with Hillary when she said “Never stop believing that fighting for what is right is worth the effort”.

After many years of working for equality and human rights in the background, I feel the necessity to again make a public stand.  That is why, at the age of 74, I have taken up my banner again!

 

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