I march for my daughters.
…Because they deserve a future full of possibility.
Because they deserve choices.
Because their bodies are theirs and theirs only, and no means no.
Because they deserve to live without fear: without fear of wearing what they like or of speaking their minds. They deserve to live without fear of punishment, without fear of rape, without fear of living their truth, without fear of a madman with a gun.
Because they deserve kindness.
Because they deserve compassion from those who think differently than they do, and because they will be expected to give the same.
Because they deserve peace.
I march so that, one day, my daughters will earn the same amount as their male colleagues for the same work.
So that their capabilities, experience and intelligence will be celebrated rather than feared or marginalized.
So that their beauty will be appreciated, not exploited.
So they will not be called bitchy or nasty or ditzy or any other pejorative term as a means of dismissal.
I march in the hope that one day my daughters may find themselves lost in thought as they wander through a national park, breathing clean air.
In the hope that they will feel confident tackling that black diamond because they know they have health insurance.
In the hope that they will be able to get a college education without plummeting into debt.
In the hope that they won’t have to pump breastmilk in a bathroom stall, or worry about leaving their newborn in the hands of a stranger.
In the hope that they will not have to defend their choices to work or stay home or formula feed or have an epidural or get married (or not) or have kids (or not).
I march to show my daughters that if they do choose to marry, they should marry the person that makes their heart sing, man or woman or undefined.
To show them that if, one day, they DO have a husband, I hope he is like their father: a man who supports their values, their worth, and their passions, and who watches the kids while they make shit happen.
I march to encourage my daughters to make shit happen.
To show them that being born white means inherent privilege, and that with privilege comes power, and with power comes responsibility – a responsibility to use your advantage to serve those less fortunate.
I march to show my daughters why America is great.
To remind them that we live in a country that was founded by dissidents, a country whose own Lady Liberty professes refuge to all who yearn to breathe free.
To remind them of the women who fought for their right to vote, to work, to play sports.
To remind them of the soldiers who risk their lives in the name of our country, who have left husbands and wives and children and pets at home while they fight for our freedoms: the very freedom that allows us to march.
I march to demonstrate to my daughters that loving your country and calling for change are not mutually exclusive.
I march to demonstrate that we must no longer be complacent; that if we expect to reap the benefits of progress then we must contribute to its fruition.
I march to show my daughters the power of community, of solidarity, of finding your tribe.
To show them that love is love is love is love is love is LOVE and always, always trumps hate.
I march so that one day, when my daughters look back on this moment in history and ask me where I was, I can say I was there.
I was marching for you.
Saralyn Ward is an award-winning writer, wellness advocate, and mountain mama. She is the founder of The Mama Sagas, writes for several publications and hosts a regular parenting TV segment on Colorado's Everyday Show. When she's not huddled over edits, you're likely to find Saralyn climbing peaks or skiing down them, and reminding herself that the two little girls that call her mom are not the boss of her.