Why I’m Marching in the Women’s March on Washington

UPDATE: On Saturday I marched in the Women’s March on Washington with my little girl. I also marched alongside an elderly woman using a walker. And with a father pushing a stroller. And with a group of teenagers from Virginia and a woman and her mother from New York (whose own 9-month old was back home). We were all strangers to one-another and had many different reasons for marching. Yet as we walked down Pennsylvania Avenue a woman turned to my daughter and said “we’re marching for you”.

I was touched. To me, her comment captured the spirit of the march – while we were there for different reasons, we were all marching for a purpose bigger than ourselves. For me personally, I was marching for something bigger than my family. Even bigger than who is or is not in the White House. I was marching for the future of our children.

Our nation’s babies and toddlers provide a glimpse of America’s future. They will be the country’s nurses and doctors, teachers and engineers. Unfortunately too many infants and young children in the U.S. suffer from poor health and nutrition, with life-long consequences.

At 1,000 Days we believe that all children deserve a healthy first 1,000 days and the opportunity to reach their full potential. We also believe that we all have a role to play in nourishing our nation’s youngest children. Participating in the Women’s March may have been a small act, but it was something I was honored to do on behalf of women, infants and young children everywhere.

This morning as the pundits asked what’s next, I put on my (rain) boots, kissed my daughter, and headed out the door to continue to fight for the health and well-being of moms and babies.

Right now 1,000 Days is working to ensure the health of women and children is not forgotten in the debate over the Affordable Care Act (ACA). If you’d like to add your voice to this effort, please consider signing our petition asking Congress to stop any effort to repeal, weaken or defund the ACA. The future health of moms and babies depends on us.

On Saturday, I will be participating in the Women’s March on Washington with my daughter. She’s eight months old.

This might be the first march of many in her lifetime – or it may be her first and last. I have many hopes for my daughter as she grows but I don’t have a crystal ball – I don’t know what life will bring her, what opportunities she will have or what challenges she will face.

Which is precisely why I’m marching.

As parents, it’s safe to say we all want to build a better world for our children. We might have different perspectives on what that world entails, but I believe it’s in all of our best interests to build a society that gives ALL children the opportunity to reach their full potential.

In working at 1,000 Days I have come to understand that equality starts in the earliest years of a child’s life.

Indeed, many of the issues our policymakers will be grappling with in the years to come are rooted in a child’s earliest years. Women need access to high quality, affordable health care. Families need access to affordable and nutritious foods. And moms and moms-to-be should be valued and supported to nourish and care for their families.

Ultimately, we all have a stake in whether children get a strong start to life. Not just my child or your child, but all children.

And for that reason I am proud to march with and for my daughter and with and for families and children everywhere.