Sara Reynolds is a founding member of Raising Our Future
I was raised in a house where politics were like religion – you don’t talk about them. It was more of a way to be amenable than secretive. As a Democrat in Arizona I feel like the same policy still applies. Avoid confrontation and let those with the louder voices lead even if I don’t agree. But as the 2016 Election unfolded I felt this overwhelming sense of sadness about my government, my country, and what was happening to my children’s future. I felt blindsided by this hate that I didn’t know existed on such a level. It scared me in ways I didn’t know how to articulate. It wasn’t debilitating like for others, but it was scary. It was an unknown and I don’t deal well with unknowns. I wrestled with either ignoring it all for the next 4 years and pray it would resolve itself or do something. But what? All those years of not being vocal were biting me in the ass.
It was my sister who asked if I wanted to go to our local Women’s March. My sister was 36 weeks pregnant and she said she felt she had to march. It was compulsory. I knew about the march but honestly thought it wasn’t going to be a big thing here in Arizona. You might know that we’re notoriously conservative. But I went with my sister and my 11 year old niece. We had signs, buttons, and the American flag. I thought we would be one of maybe 20 people. I was wrong. I was one of 20,000.
The Phoenix Women’s March was one of the most amazing experiences. At first I thought the group was small, but then I realized we were just early. As it grew, I was in awe of the sheer visual of the number of people. Women, men, young, old, gay, straight, black, white, Latino, English speaking, Farsi speaking, Spanish speaking.it didn’t matter. This mass of people with views about immigration, education, climate change, women’s reproductive rights, foreign policy all voicing their opinions. And then there were pictures on of people I know in LA, Houston, Boston, Chicago, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and DC. There was comfort in the dichotomy of the protestors and the acceptance from the community. Like I said it was amazing. It was cathartic. It was exactly what my bleeding liberal heart needed.
But then it was over. And the train of atrocities continued with confirmation hearings and disrespect to the media and rollback of regulations and stone-walling from the White House and daily tweets. I felt suffocated again. I realized that I needed that activism I felt in the Women’s March in order to voice my opinion. I can no longer sit back and be amenable and apologize that my political beliefs differ from someone else’s opinion. I vowed to educate myself more and to be vocal. I started calling my Senators and House Representatives, daily, expressing my deep concerns about this administration. I was a victim of my own group-think surrounding myself with like-minded people so I started consuming as much information from both sides of a debate to be better informed. And I became more involved with organizations such as Raising Our Future.
I do all of this for my children. As most parents, I struggle to raise good, decent people in a world that is not always good and decent. I don’t know how to tell them to go out into the world and do good, if I don’t do the same. I might not be able to change what is happening today, but I will be the change I want to see in the world for my boys. For their future. This is my way of fostering a better world for my children just as I am fostering better people for the world.