Noah, on the way to the Women's March on Washington. (Photo by Matt Hackworth)

by Matt Hackworth


e stood in my garage, the air just a bit frosty, between our two workbenches.

“Do you know why we’re going to this march tomorrow?” I asked my 12-year-old son, Noah.

His eyes darted left, then right, in his usual way when he doesn’t know an answer immediately. “Um, no,” he said.

I assured him it was OK and he hadn’t done anything wrong. But I had: I was ready to drag him to the Women’s March on Washington the very next day. I was asking him, a middle schooler, to give up what would have been a normal, unstructured Saturday doing things he loved, and I hadn’t driven home the most important part: why.

I knew I had to keep it simple. I knew it had to be direct.

I made sure he knew that being a person of faith required our work for justice. I made sure he understood that for many, the recent election highlighted that women were not considered equal to men. I told him it’s our job to use our voices so that we tell the world, “women matter.” We were going to the march to show our support for justice, as people of faith, as a family tied to IMA World Health and to We Will Speak Out.

The next day we made our way into Washington, D.C. from our suburban home, surrounded by a great group of friends. There was singing. There was laughing. People were helpful and patient, despite the throng, sore feet and all. Police officers and marchers shared laughs at signs. Old and young, a racial rainbow, arm in arm we marched.

There have been many who have questioned the value of such a demonstration. Others, still, chided the event, somehow blaming it for deepening our country’s divisions. These are all valid questions that will fuel our collective debate but, for me, all the reasons for it in the world came clear to me somewhere as we marched along Constitution Avenue.

Our little gaggle had just finished singing “This Land is Your Land” when I leaned down to Noah.

“Why are we here?” I asked.

“Because women matter,” he said.  That was enough for me to make it all worthwhile.