January 20, 2017
Following the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States, millions of women will march on January 21 all around the country—and many women will be bringing their daughters along to help speak out for women's rights and human rights. But the biggest march of all will take place in Washington, D.C., where thousands of families are taking planes, trains, and automobiles to make sure their voices are heard at the Women's March on Washington.
The hashtag #WhyIMarch has been trending all week, as women share their reasons for participating in the marches. Here, we share why some moms and daughters are marching together.
Caren Reaves, MD, and Lauren Reaves
Caren Reaves, M.D., a gynecologist in Bartonsville, Texas, was inspired to fly to DC for the March by her concerns for women's equality and reproductive rights. "As a gynecologist, I've always empowered my patients and my girls to be proud of their bodies, what their bodies can do, and what awesome responsibility comes with sexuality and reproduction," she says. "To know my girls' choices and reproductive decisions will be limited or legislated by people with no medical training, a gross lack of scientific understanding, disregard for the very real risks to women in pregnancy and childbirth, and an obvious religious agenda infuriates me."
Her 14-year-old daughter, Lauren, was one of the few progressive students in her class, and Caren felt strongly that it was important for her to connect with like-minded people. "I want her to see the sea of humanity marching for her and for all women," she says. "I want her to see that coming together for a common cause gives all of us the power to effect change when it would be otherwise more difficult as an individual. I hope it inspires her to use her strengths for the betterment of others, standing up against often difficult obstacles."
Beth Elkin Wales and Valerie Wales
Fifteen-year-old Valerie Wales was the driving force behind her mother Beth Elkin Wales' decision to drive down from Buffalo, New York, (with a few side stops to pick up fellow Marchers) to Washington DC. "When logistics were tricky, she kept insisting that we get there," Beth says. "This country needs strong young women more than ever—women who aren't afraid to speak out against injustice and inequality."
For Beth, a sense of community—and of sending a message to the new administration—inspired her to go. "I's a way to tell Trump we are watching him. We don't like his sexist, racist, xenophobic attitude, his immature behavior, his appointments, his proposed policies, his egomaniacal ways, so we're watching and we're prepared to fight him every step of the way. I can't wait to see mobs of people ready to resist!"
Lisa Bayer and Lily Gehner
It'll take an all-night bus trip to get Lisa Bayer and her 13-year-old daughter, Lily, to Washington from their home in Athens, Georgia. But for Lisa, it's worth it to experience the March with her daughter. "I am continually surprised and delighted by watching my daughter grow into a thoughtful and ethical young woman," Lisa says. "This march will continue her political education—and mine—and I'm grateful that we are privileged enough to be able to attend it together."
Lisa is hoping the March will help encourage her political activism. "I'm hopeful that this event will help me to focus my time and energy toward protecting the issues that are important to me, like poor people's rights and public education."
Caroline Schestag and Ella Schestag
Montclair, New Jersey, mom Caroline Schestag hopes 11-year-old Ella finds inspiration in the March. "It is important for me that Ella be there so that she can witness history being made, and that each of us has the ability to make an impact," she says. "To be among others will be a feeling of excitement she has never had and I feel blessed to be able to share this experience with her."
For Caroline, the March is about working to improve the lives of women, one step at a time. "I'm marching for the ability to have a positive presence as women in our country. We are marching as a symbol of moving forward, and not going backwards."
Leslie Gonzalez and Isabella Gonzalez
Leslie Gonzalez, from Athens, Georgia, was moved to march by her concern for her 13-year-old daughter's future. "I want so much more and so much better for my daughter, and this March is giving us a chance to say to the world that we matter. We matter equally."
Isabella feels strongly about fighting for a better future for everyone. "This March is a chance to stand up to bigotry no matter what gender, religion, race, nationality, or sexual identity you are," she says.
For both of them, it's about building that sense of strength in community—together. "I want her to experience the sisterhood of the event and witness strong women united," Leslie says. "I want her to know that her mom has her back and is proud to walk by her side no matter what."