On Jan. 21, men, women, children and even a few dogs stood together united and turned the streets pink. The women’s march was a historic event likely to go down in history. However, within minutes of the march beginning, the naysayers in the world also came together to ask what is the point? Why did we march?
The march was bigger than the results of the recent election, and while the results of that have left a sour taste in the mouth of many people, the reason for the march goes well beyond a four-year presidency. Many people stood in solidarity to protest the closings of Planned Parenthood. While those who do not generally visit the facility view it as a one stop shop for condoms, birth control and abortion, it is so much more. It is a necessary medical clinic helping save the lives of women all over the world.
As a young girl I relied on Planned Parenthood. When I could not afford treatment from a gynecologist, they were there for me. I was out of college and working 40 hours a week as a server at a restaurant just so I could make ends meet, pay my rent and put groceries in my house.
I couldn’t afford insurance at the time, but I was plagued with women’s issues regarding my health. I have had a lifelong battle with my ovaries. I have had many surgeries and have needed medication and testing and Planned Parenthood never turned its back on me. The door was always open so that I could receive healthcare and I can say with absolute certainty I would not be where I am today if it were not for Planned Parenthood. Many people who have never visited here say that it is not needed, I ask the same people if they have ever visited a soup kitchen? Just because you don’t see a need for it doesn’t mean it should be gone.
Planned Parenthood saves lives, even if it’s not your life it is saving.
So why do we march? I suppose if we could do anything about what is going on, it’s a good idea to try. No voice was ever heard by staying silent. During a time of segregation in our country, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. marched in Washington D.C. to be the voice of the civil rights movement. I’m sure if Facebook was around then there would be just as many people making negative comments. Decades later, his march is still discussed and studied in the history books as a positive change and people taking a stand for what is right. If this march is to go down in history books what side of the story do you want to tell your grandchildren you were on?
I was moved to tears on Saturday with pride and hope. To see the world, not just our country, stand together and say women matter was overwhelming and I was beaming. The words of 1960’s political activist Angela Davis resonate with me as a result of Saturday’s march, I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.
Will the march matter? Will changes happen because of it? I would like to think that it already has. By giving a voice to the issues being protested and peacefully creating awareness, we unite the world in pink and said no, this isn’t right and I’m using my voice to be heard.
Girl Talk began in 2012 as a telltale horror story of the city’s most epic dating disasters and has evolved into a column about love, life experiences and growing up. Melissa also has a weekly Girl Talk TV segment on PA Live and WBRE.