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Advocacy | March 28, 2023

March Forward, Not Backward

By Robia Qasimyar, Program Associate

This blog is estimate to take 3 minutes to read.

I look forward to March every year. We begin to turn a hopeful corner from freezing temperatures toward cool Spring breezes, see festive four-leaf clovers decorate shops and homes, and experience invigorating daylight for an extra hour. March is also Women’s History Month—individuals, organizations, and businesses celebrate women and femmes who have and continue to positively impact our global communities. I proudly wear my colorful t-shirts with fun imagery featuring diverse women. I passionately speak with my friends about how awesome past and present women leaders are. I eagerly seek programs that showcase women as powerful characters. I’m happy to celebrate all that women have accomplished across all fields and within their own homes and families.

Overall, I find March to be an energizing time.

But it’s been hard to muster that energy this year.

More than usual, I am reminded of the women, femmes, and girls in this country and around the world who don’t have access to basic rights. Who are intimidated by their governments, pressured by their societies, and limited by their geographies. Who are barely able to survive, let alone thrive. There is a constant despair rooted in my chest that flares every time I hear haunting stories of inequity.

This doesn’t feel like the March I’ve grown up loving, the one where we are excited about what’s to come as we move forward through the rest of the year. It feels like a march backward.

What makes things even more disheartening is the absence of consistent and widespread solidarity. I can understand how global crises, like girls over the age of 12 being banned from pursuing higher education in Afghanistan or the extremely high maternal mortality rate in Chad among numerous others, can make one feel helpless since they are happening in areas that are so far away—it is possible to contribute to change in such places, though, to be clear. But even in the United States—even in Nebraska—there are so many threats to women and femmes: trafficking, maternal mortality, wage gaps, citizenship, so much more. Bills in our State Legislature hindering reproductive rights, housing justice, and gender affirming healthcare are only a few examples of such dangers that are on the precipice of becoming law. What is also worth noting is that these legislations have the potential to disproportionately impact low-income and/or communities of color.

The disbelief is indescribable. Surely, these limitations aren’t being considered by lawmakers. In 2023? In this economy? It’s laughable… but it’s true—and terrifying.

So guess what, people—set your alarms. It’s time to wake up and shake up! Leave passivity in the past. Embrace your inner activist. I recognize that sometimes we can get so overwhelmed by a desire to do something, that we end up doing nothing. You may want to hit snooze, but reflect—would you rather catch some Z’s or help women and femmes catch a break?

Women and femmes cannot and should not do this work alone—we need our allies to stand alongside us. Hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder, facing forward, stronger together. Let’s be real…

If you aren’t a feminist, then what are you doing?

There are several excellent places to start your advocacy journey. The Women’s Fund makes it incredibly simple to understand bills being considered in the legislature and offers easy ways to contact your senator. Please explore this and other resources on their website here. I Be Black Girl provides testimony guides and toolkits on their site, too!

This may be the month dedicated to women, but let’s be sure to march this work past March.


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Carleton Weitz Fellows | February 13, 2024

Weitz Fellow Voices: Madeleine at Nebraska Civic Engagement Table

By Madeleine Parr

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