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Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

Why I participated in the Women’s March

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Aya Fubara Eneli

    Aya Fubara Eneli

I was excited to hear that besides the march scheduled in Washington DC, there were going to be numerous other cities in which women were congregating. With one child scheduled for a regional choir competition that day and another scheduled for an official college recruiting visit on the same day, it didn’t seem very likely that I would be joining a march anywhere. But it was important to me to do just that.

I packed up my three younger children and with a friend I excitedly headed to the Austin capitol unsure of what to expect. We were about 5 miles away from the venue when we started seeing throngs of women, children and quite a few men, all headed in one general direction. There was a great energy and there were a variety of messages on the colored signs everyone, but us, seemed to have prepared.

My 11-year-old daughter perked up at the sight of other girls her age walking as we searched for parking. “Why are we marching again?” She asked. These were my answers to her.

We are joining the women’s march because as Ida B. Wells-Barnett, a fearless anti-lynching crusader, journalist, newspaper editor, suffragist, women’s rights advocate, and speaker and so many others before and after her have reminded us, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” It is always the right time to speak the truth and to do so powerfully and with love. Today, we will join a march to emphatically state that we are awake and willing to act.

We are marching because just about every right you and I currently enjoy as women and as people of African descent in this country came at great sacrifice of blood and liberty. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stated, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” There are many issues that matter to me and the direction our country seems to be going in is of great concern to me. As a student of history, whenever we embrace the denigration and dehumanization of others, it encourages the worst in humans to flourish and causes the loss of many lives. I am choosing to live the courage of my convictions and speak out about the marginalization of Black and Brown people, women, non-Christians, the disabled and so on.

I can only deduce that the same rhetoric that allowed for the Jewish Holocaust in Germany as “good” people and Christians watched, applauded or at best looked away, is the same kind of rhetoric spewing from the mouths of this current administration and that is of great concern to me. The same Biblical interpretations that enabled Christians to wholeheartedly embrace slavery to the point of risking their own lives to keep others enslaved and later to institute Jim Crow laws in this nation, is the same philosophy that seems to be blowing through many churches today as pastors excitedly embrace a man who claims to never have had to ask God for forgiveness and who lies and denigrates people at will.

We are marching because it is important to me that I model what I say I believe. Whatever direction this country goes in, you will always be able to look back and say, “My mother never just sat on the sidelines and hoped. She prayed and she took action.” As a college student, I read a poem by Martin Niemöller, a prominent Protestant pastor who spoke up against Adolf Hitler and spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps that had a profound impact on me.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

We are marching because this march allows me to connect with others with whom I may share some common goals. This march allows me a safe place to speak my truths. This march allows me to educate other women. This march will help me empower other women. This march is part of my calling to speak up against injustice. Dr. King was arrested over 40 times by the same country that now applauds him (in some quarters), we must stand for what we believe no matter how unpopular.

I have heard many criticize the march and the marchers. I have heard many use their “Christian” religion to cast aspersions on those who marched. My perspective on the prevailing moral issues of our day are simple.

Homosexuals and homosexuality are not a threat to my marriage, the condition of my and my husband’s hearts towards God and our marriage will always be the determining factor.

I’m less concerned about whether teachers can lead students in prayer in public schools and more concerned with whether parents are leading their children in prayer in their own homes.

I’m not so much concerned about the legalization of abortion (although I believe in the sanctity of life) as I am concerned about the circumstances in our society that even cause people to believe that the best recourse for their pregnancy is abortion. I’ve been there. I wasn’t evil; I was misguided.

I am less concerned about legislating heart issues, and more interested in loving people while abhorring sin. If we could work to minimize the inequities and the sense of hopelessness too many experience, if we could really bind up the wounds of the broken-hearted and help those in need, I believe we would see more people choosing to love and serve God.

I marched because God holds me accountable for both what I do and what I choose not to do.

Aya Fubara Eneli is a best-selling author, Christian Life Coach, Motivational Speaker and Attorney. Her life’s purpose is to empower and equip people to live up to their highest potential. To book her for your next event, visit http://www.ayaeneli.com/, or e-mail her at info@ayaeneli.com.

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