On Friday, I will wear a black armband to mourn, to protest and to honor. I mourn the inauguration of a demagogue; I protest Cabinet appointees with public records that demonstrate their efforts to undermine the agencies they may lead; and I honor the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Article 19 of the International Declaration of Human Rights.
As a survivor of sexual assault and countless incidents of sexual harassment and as the confidante of colleagues, friends and family who have survived worse, I mourn for those victims of sexual violence who have been re-traumatized by the boasting of such behavior by our president-elect.
As an immigrant who became a proud citizen of this extraordinary country and as the daughter, granddaughter and niece of veterans who fought the authoritarian fascism of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, I do not find invitations to hack the email of a presidential opponent a joke, and I vehemently protest Russian cyberattacks against our democratic institutions.
As a family not crippled by close to $100,000 in medical debt after a pre-existing condition was covered because of the Affordable Care Act and as a mother whose daughter faces eight years of unaffordable health insurance while she gets an education and launches her career, I honor the vision and accomplishments of President Barack Obama.
As a biologist bearing witness to the mass extinction of species on a scale not seen in 65 million years, I mourn the loss of genetic and natural diversity that not only doesn’t look like a priority for the president-elect but is a likely candidate for his all too common mockery.
As a scientist with trust in the peer-review process and the near unanimous consensus of the worldwide scientific community on the stark reality of global climate change and as a professional who has striven each day during a 28-year career to act and advise from facts and objective analysis, I protest the assertion of supernatural belief when drawing conclusions about global biogeochemical systems.
As a woman with the common experience of all women of being held to a standard higher than any man in any room and as a woman who watched as the most qualified, if imperfect, presidential candidate in our history was undermined by the FBI and Russian cyber warfare while a man with no political experience and no respect for anyone but himself is held to virtually no standard at all, I honor Hillary Clinton for her competence, her courage and her tenacity.
Most importantly as a mother, aunt and grandmother, I will continue to work, support and hope that the next generation finds physical and spiritual shelter in which to weather the extremes of climate, warfare, politics and religion. For them, I will wear a black armband on Friday. And it is for them that I will march on Saturday in Augusta in solidarity with those marching in Washington, D.C., because women’s rights are human rights and human rights are women’s rights.
Judy East lives in Calais.