Why I March — Women’s March Bergen, 21st of January 2017

I march because we may all live on the same planet, but we do not ALL live in the same world, nor do we all share the same reality.

I’m a woman, I’m biracial, and I was raised by a single mother. And in MY world, that puts ME at a disadvantage.

As a woman, I’ve been subjected to everything from covert sexism to overt misogyny, and sexual harassment to sexual violence.

As a biracial woman, I’ve been subjected to everything from sincere ignorance to willful ignorance, and unconscious prejudice to blatant racism.

I march because I’m a woman. Because I’m half black. Because my father is an immigrant. Because my mother was a single mother. Because I grew up in a multicultural environment — and I’m all the better for it. Because I’ve got friends who are Muslim. Because half of my FAMILY is Muslim.

I march because I’ve got friends who belong to the LGBT community. Because I’ve got friends who are refugees. Because my BEST FRIEND in the whole entire world, who also happens to be one of the BEST people I know of, is a dark-skinned immigrant whose very spirit is more beautiful than ANYTHING visible to the naked eye.

I march because I know FAR too many women who’ve experienced EVERY TYPE of sexual assault that you can think of — and never got ANY JUSTICE. Despite knowing so many, hardly ANY OF THEM got justice. I march because impunity for rape and sexual assault is still the norm in Norway. I march because 99 % of ALL rape cases end without a conviction. I march because the UN and Amnesty has heavily criticized Norway for violating women’s human rights.

I march because I’m afraid. Because I feel unsafe. And because I fear for the safety of the people that I love — and I shouldn’t HAVE to.

Sexism, racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, islamophobia and xenophobia is NEVER okay. NEVER acceptable. Whether it comes from the president of the United States — or the man in the street. Because when it happens to ONE of us, it happens to ALL of us.

I march because one day I’ll be a proud mother, and I don’t know yet what my kids will look like or what they’ll be. But I DO know that regardless of whatever they’re born as, I want them to be born into a world where they are FREE to be just THAT!

I march because I want my future daughter to grow up in a world that’s better, not worse. We are supposed to be progressive — not regressive. For the past couple of years, we have been going in the wrong direction, and we have to change that. And NOW is the time to change that.

I march because the day after Trump got elected as the new president of the United States, a friend of mine had to comfort her daughters, age 9 and 7, because they were scared that as a result they would lose all their rights — simply because of the fact that they were girls. They said: ”Mom, what’s gonna happen to us now? Will we lose all our rights? Will there be a war?” 9 and 7 years old! She had to promise her young daughters — her CHILDREN — that their rights would not be taken away from them and that everything would be okay. And I MARCH because I want to make SURE that we KEEP that promise!

And THAT is why I march.

This speech was translated into Norwegian and published in Bergens Tidende 23rd of January 2017

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Anine Bråten

Anine Bråten

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Student, feminist, anti-racist, activist. Freelance writer and public speaker.