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Wilkinson: On The March

Back in 2012, our own (elected) Tweeter-in-Chief objected to something – I no longer remember what, exactly - by saying “We can’t let this happen. We should march on Washington... Our nation is divided.”

And while we may not share many opinions, I think that’s a great idea. So this Saturday, I will march – as one of many others in the Women’s March on Washington. My lifetime of activism has been unremarkable so far. I was more likely to proclaim strong opinions when I was younger – like encouraging peers to stop using aerosol cans in middle school – or making worldly pronouncements from atop the proverbial soapbox in college. I always spoke up when people overtly shamed others in my company; and I still do.

But somewhere along the line I stopped offering my opinion on bigger issues since it seemed to be falling on deaf ears or didn’t matter or was bothering people. In a classic chicken and egg scenario, I couldn’t say which came first: the self-inflicted silence or the conviction that society didn’t value my opinion. But whatever the real reasons, I became silent.

Now I worry that my silence - and that of many other women and minorities - contributed to the election outcome since I agree that Hillary’s gender did, in fact, matter to a large portion of the country’s electorate and made her a less viable candidate. Perhaps more active involvement on my part could have made a difference, but in any case, the fire inside me has been relit.

When a like-minded friend asked me what I would be marching for, I realized that I need to speak up again but have yet to figure out how to use my voice effectively. And if I cannot yet be heard, I want to at least be seen. So I’ll join thousands of women and men in our nation's capital to form a collective critical mass that will be hard to ignore.

I’ll march for those who are still invisible - for those who’ve been told they don’t matter or are unimportant or shouldn’t have rights. And I’ll march for those who are still silent, out of fear or disappointment.

I’ll go there and march to prove that I’m here; that we’re here; and we will have our say.

From farmer to teacher, Brooke Wilkinson now works to bring music to young children throughout the region. She lives with her husband and two children in Strafford, Vermont.
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