Rise Up: No one gets left behind

Woman's March 2017 | Kimberly Kalil Designs

When you was 18, I joined the Army. I was rudderless and needed guidance and structure. One of the first lessons I learned was a simple one: No one gets left behind.  Of all the things I learned during my 14 years in the military, this was by far the most important.

We were a team. My fellow soldiers became my tribe. Everyone had a place. Everyone was equal.

No one gets left behind.

I marched through downtown Tucson on Saturday along with 15,000 members of my community. I vacillated between tears and elation. The tears weren’t from sadness, they were tears of pride. I am proud of the community I live in. I’m proud of the inclusive spirit I feel each and every day. I love Tucson. It’s full of diversity. It’s full of good, hardworking, loving people. I march for them and I march for my daughter. I marched because no one ever gets left behind.

No one gets left behind.

I’ve been pretty open with my feelings about Donald Trump, but it feels important to say again: it’s not okay to marginalize anyone. It doesn’t matter if you are white, black, brown, gay, lesbian, immigrant, native born, physically or mentally disabled …. We all have a place at the table. We all deserve dignity. We all belong. Rhetoric or policy in direct conflict to this is unacceptable.

No one gets left behind.

I might seem like an unlikely activist. I’m white. I have a college education. I own a home. I’m part of a thriving community. But that’s just it: I have been given much, therefore it’s my moral obligation to give back. Not everyone grows up in a family that has food on the table each night and parents who make sure you go to school. Those children — those families  — need us to speak up for them and to help them use their voice.

No one gets left behind.

When I’m sick, I go to the doctor. When I had growths on my ovaries, I had surgery. I have never once worried about whether or not I could pay for such treatment. My life is not more valuable than someone else, so why shouldn’t everyone have the same access and opportunity to health care?

No one gets left behind.

In Tucson, I live closer to Mexico than any other US major city. This city — my home — is deeply connected to our neighbors in Mexico. They are good people. They are hardworking. And they, along with other immigrants, deserve our compassion and respect.

No one gets left behind.

I’m a woman. I’m the mother of a daughter. As a woman, we have just as much right to demand equal pay for equal work. I demand to be treated with dignity, and every single woman should be treated with the same dignity and respect we offer to men of this world. I am not a second class citizen, nor is my daughter. We are smart. We are brave. We are talented. And we are human. Woman’s rights are human rights. Just because I have a vagina doesn’t can you can treat me differently.

No one gets left behind. I will do my part to make sure no one gets left behind. And I will teach my children that anger, hatred, and misogyny are not okay. 

No one gets left behind.

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If you are local, consider going to the YWCA’s “10 Actions in the First 100 Kickoff Event. You can find more information about that here. You can also find ideas on how you can help or get involved here.

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