Marching Into A Movement
by Geraldine Neville
On January 21st, along with millions, for many reasons, I marched. I marched because having lost my mother too early to cervical cancer, I know too well the importance of access to preventive and reproductive health care services. As a Louisiana resident, I’ve witnessed the effects of poor public health policy on our communities. As a first generation, Latin American, born of formerly undocumented parents, I understand that born a generation or two later, I too might be considered an “anchor baby” by some. I marched in solidarity with my LGBTQ friends, all people of color and because climate change is a scientifically proven fact.
So now what? After the signs are recycled and the pink pussy hats are tossed in a drawer, forgotten until they pair well with an early Mardi Gras costume, how does a march become a movement?
Not just every four years but for every single election - local, municipal and statewide. The policy that affects you daily doesn’t sleep and neither should you. Be informed of current issues in your district and state. Follow your local legislators (even the ones you don’t agree with). Remember that we are not heard chanting into an echo chamber.
This may seem redundant given the last point, but remember that an estimated 40% of Americans didn’t vote at all this presidential election and the gap widens when it comes to state and local district elections. In a Red State this may seem unimportant, but on the contrary, it matters so much more particularly on the local level.
Beyond waging a war of words with your conservative brother-in-law on Facebook, CALL your legislators and voice your opinion on issues that affect you and your loved ones. Keep your friends and family informed and engaged too.
Confirm the validity of your news sources, fake news is counterproductive. Following sensationalist sites undermines all of the above and below, unfollow them. Be your own fact checker and research before you post.
Listen to understand, not to reply
Some of the most meaningful political discourses of my life happened after November 9th. I was asked and faced questions on a number of issues and replied in thought provoking ways and listened.
Connect with organizations that are advocates for the issues that matter to you. Volunteer, donate,and follow Lift Louisiana for updates on how you can help protect and defend reproductive health care in Louisiana.
Geraldine Neville is an Advisory Board Member of Lift Louisiana and an advocate for reproductive rights, access to services and education; particularly for underserved and Spanish speaking populations.