Today was Inauguration Day and we officially have a new president. I've been a little sad all day because he is not the candidate I voted for, but that's okay. I spent the better part of my day bracing myself to hear his speech and steeling myself against the fear so that I could wear my best "public school teacher" face. I did a great job! My class watched the inauguration, we had a great discussion about respecting the office of The President, and I went on with the rest of my day appearing to be cool, calm and collected. But...in my head I was composing all the things I want to say to you on a day like today.
Here's what I want you to know.
His previous behavior is unacceptable. It is unacceptable to objectify women, to suggest that it's okay to touch women without their permission or consent, or to brag about the ways he mistreats women. That should be a deal breaker in a relationship. I thought it would be a deal breaker in a president, but I was wrong. Going forward, please know that this behavior is a DEAL BREAKER in any potential partner that you meet. Who is in control of your body? Say it with me - nobody but you!
It is not okay to exclude people or to make people feel afraid. Everyone you meet is special and beautiful and it's your job to respect them and welcome them into our classrooms, our churches and yes, even our homes. Whether the person next to you is black or white, Christian or Muslim, gay or transgender or searching for the meaning of it all....your job is to smile and listen and find the good in their story. Your job is to connect with them. Connection is what you were built for.
Finally, I want you to know that there's a difference between complaining about something, fighting against something, and speaking up for something. Let me break it down for you.
Complaining gets you nowhere. Complaining is a cancer that spreads from your lips to your heart to the hearts of those around you. You will lose your friends, your job, your happiness...you will lose everything from complaining, so don't even start.
Fighting against something is a bit trickier. Many people in our country want to fight against the administration, and rightly so, in my opinion. But sometimes fighting against something leaves you so unhappy and sad that you can't see the good in the people around you. I'm all for fighting against injustice, bigotry, racism, misogyny....but remember that the people you're fighting against are just that - they are people. They are not perfect. If they aren't willing to listen to you and find some common ground, your fight will be long and hard and scary. Which brings me to the best option...
Standing up FOR something, which is completely different. When you take all of those things that scare you and make you mad, then you find the opposite of those things - you've found the stuff you need to stand up for. When you make a list of the things you want instead of the things you don't want, you've found something worth standing up for.
Tomorrow, your Mama stands up.
And I'm bringing you with me.
Tomorrow, we march in the Cincinnati Women's March on Washington. It's a sister march to the REALLY BIG march happening in Washington DC. I'm not sure what to expect here in Cincinnati, but I know that if I don't go, I'll regret it. I know that if I stay home during this important moment in history, I'll be sad that I missed out. I'm not marching to complain. I'm not even marching to fight against things, although I do believe there is plenty to fight against. I'm marching to stand up for the things that are important: freedom, justice, equality, hope and love. And I don't know anyone who can argue with that!
Today was a bummer, but tomorrow.................
It's time, girls. #BeLoud God gave you that mighty voice for a reason and now it's time to use it. No matter what happens, you'll be glad you did.
Love always and forever,
Note: The small boy would totally be joining us in the family hashtag, but he's still in diapers and he's considered a flight risk in any crowded situation. After careful consideration, just the girls are going to the march. His time will come. You should hear the set of lungs on that kid. All three of them, really. This is what my kids were created to do. #BeLoud