Let us Link Arms & March

I am a 29 year old, middle-class, healthy, non-military, white woman.

I am not gay. I am not colored. I am not an ethnic minority. I am not an immigrant. I do not receive federal benefits. I have affordable, private health insurance. I have access to birth control. I have never needed an abortion. I have access to clean water, local farms. I went to high-ranking public schools.

I have all that I need. I am fortunate. I am in the minority.

So I march. I fight. I join you.

I do not want to be the white women that came in and acted without listening. Who assumed without knowing.

So much of it is not my fight. But it is not yours to bear alone.

It is your bus to steer, your story to tell. But it is our people, our nation we all must fight for.

For centuries, your voices have not echoed as loudly as mine, simply because I am white, straight, middle class, educated. I do not want to be your voice. I want to amplify your voice.

Let me link arms with you. Let me walk alongside you. Let me get my hands dirty, right next to you. Let me listen and not assume. Let me work with you. There is room for all of us.

I cannot begin to understand the depths of your struggles. For I have lived a life free of struggle. Yet my life is intertwined with yours. My success, with your success. My voice, with your voice. The principles that I stand for — inclusion, equality, justice, freedom, decency, humanity — these are nothing without you. If we fail to tackle these issues, if we fail to end up at a place where we are both on the same stage — not in front or behind, above or below — then I have not succeeded. We have not succeeded.

What a beautiful day it will be, when we can all walk together, hand in hand, arm in arm, with diversity woven among us. Your history of struggles and exclusion will not go away. I cannot erase the pain that you and your ancestors have endured. But together, we can change the landscape for generations to come.

These issues, categories — I am not touched by them now. I am fortunate. But the day may come where my story is the same as yours. The day may come, where I too need government assistance, or my white son marries a black women who is stereotyped because of her skin color, or a dear friend is threatened with deportation, or my daughter come out as bisexual, or I need an abortion, or my town’s water becomes the next Flint, MI, or my husband gets cancer and we cannot qualify for insurance. I do not want that day to be the day I suddenly take up my sword. I do not want that day to be the day I decide to fight.

So this weekend, I march alongside hundreds of thousands of other women. Some who have been afflicted by these issues, and some who have not. Let me. Let me march with you. Let me fight your fight, with you at the helm. Let me listen before I talk, before I act. Let my compassion, and passion, my love and my hope, my desire for light in so much darkness — let it all shine through. Let it touch all of you. And then let us link arms and march.

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Ashley Gaudiano

Ashley Gaudiano

Advocate, Nonprofit comms/fundraising, Town Councilor, Down Ballot Campaigner, Lawyer, Mom *she/her/hers*