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Why I March

Testimonio Feminist

A queer Latinx woman on what's compelling her to attend Saturday's historic Women's March. 

In life we experience moments that can only be described as callings. These moments are rare -- when we know with perfect clarity what we are meant to do. Our callings may not yield the results we expect, but they will always give us what we need. They teach us something of ourselves and offer some vital clue to how we must continue.

At this moment, I feel a calling. With seemingly insurmountable odds ahead, in the face of bigotry and fear, I am called. I am called in the name of resistance to live up to the principles of justice so many before me have fought for. I am called to be better, to do better. When I first heard of the Women's March in D.C., there was no doubt in my mind that I must be there, that this must be a part of my calling. Because if I cannot show up for my own rights, for my own freedoms, what can I stand for?

To live at the intersection of queer, Latinx, and woman is to be in a constant state of negotiation with the world around me. To be bisexual and multi-ethnic is to exist as a paradox in our society. I am given no choice but to move through the world from this space. In my life, in my work as a writer and performer, I must confront my paradoxes time and again. I live from this space. So have learned to create and celebrate from this space too.

On Saturday, January 21, 2017, I will march from this space.

I march from the place in me whose very existence is rebellion. I was born to two mixed-white and -Latinx parents, themselves the product of interethnic marriages in the 1950s. For them to find each other, for me to exist, so many people from so many diverse places and circumstances had to meet and walk together just long enough to move forward. For me to thrive, to grow in my truth, required the company of miraculous women to reflect back to me what I could not always recognize in myself. Much like the Women's March, I am a product of collaboration, empathy, and perseverance. So it seems only natural to join these strangers -- these newfound sisters -- to share with each other our stories, our frustrations, and our hopes for the future.

There are those who will question the productivity of our march. They will tell us that it will not change anything. They will say that to march will not affect policy or political sentiment. To these people I offer a different perspective:

When I march on Saturday it will not be for the benefit of those in power so much as it will be for the women who surround me. It will be for the women who have helped to shape my life. It will be for those who march and those who cannot. This march is for us. This march reminds us that we may find sanctuary in one another. It reminds us that even in challenging times we can hold each other up in all our differences. Because when we congregate we can listen to each other. We can learn from one another. We can challenge each other and ourselves. Whether or not we change policy, we will change one another.

The battle to protect and demand our rights will continue long after this march. It will take weeks, months, and years. It will require our patience, our vigilance, and our humility. The steps we take January 21 will fortify us for the steps we must continue to take when the crowds have dispersed and we have returned to our respective lives.

This is why I march. I will march with pride and with respect for our myriad voices. I march because our power is immeasurable when we unite for the love of our messy, splendid selves. I march so that I may stand counted among those who refuse to compromise our well-being for false value systems. My march is a response to hatred and injustice, but it is not fraught with misery or fear. Rather, it is an extension of my liberation. My march is my testimony to all that I am, that no administration can ever take away from me.

JESSICA DEBRUIN is a New York-based writer and performer, also working as an audience representative at Roundabout Theatre Company. Follow DeBruin on Instagram @jessicalaverdad.

(RELATED: I'm Marching for the Future of All Women)

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Jessica DeBruin