It’s been more than two months since Donald Trump won the presidential election, and one month since the Electoral College made it official. And yet, many of us are still struggling to come to terms with the fact that our president doesn’t represent the American values we grew up with. I know I am.
We were supposed to celebrate a milestone this inauguration. We were supposed to hold parties. It’s chilling that instead we’ll be taking to the streets in large-scale, peaceful day-long protests.
This Saturday, I plan to march with thousands of people in Philadelphia and around the country who, like me, are deeply concerned about the incoming administration. We march because we believe that love is love, that black lives matter, that women’s rights are human rights, and that no human is illegal. We march in part because we need to remind the community--and ourselves--that although Trump has expressed hate towards these groups, we will still be safe because we will come together.
To me, the march means more than just showing the new administration that we are a unified front. I think there was one positive result of Trump winning: he made people like me angry enough to organize and do more for our cities and for this country. His win was the last straw that made me decide to run for public office.
For years, I’ve been wanting to do more. Almost ten years ago, I left the lucrative investment banking world to work for the City of Philadelphia because I wanted to make a positive difference in the community. Not everyone understood why I would take a pay cut at the peak of my career to work for the government.
I’ve never regretted making the switch. Much of my family, including my six year old daughter Julia, live in Philadelphia. I have a personal stake in this little pocket of America because it’s my world. I knew it was the best way I could make a positive impact in the city I love. Now more than ever, I’m grateful to have had this opportunity.
Marching on Saturday, and the decision to dedicate my life to politics and creating a better Philadelphia, are two sides of the same coin.
For the next four years, most of our progress will not be coming top-down from the federal government. It’ll be coming from cities, like our own, that choose to say “no” to hate despite the consequences. I am so proud that Philadelphia in particular is taking steps like reaffirming its place as a sanctuary city and re-committing to fighting climate change despite the resurgence of lawmakers calling it a “hoax.”
The fight for inclusivity, in the end, will come from the cities. And we’ll need strong leaders to withstand the pushback. I’m ready to take on the challenge.
And so are you, and everyone marching in the Women’s March. Because when we march, we’re not just saying that we’re angry. We’re saying that we’re not afraid, that love is stronger, that we value diversity and kindness. Most of all, we’re saying that we know a march is not just a march, that it’s the kickoff of a hopefully lifetime commitment to protecting each other. This is us saying that we’ll vote, that we’ll volunteer, and that we’ll stand by each other in ways big and small.
This will be our unconventional acknowledgment of the inauguration.
I’m running for Philadelphia controller because I plan to uphold these very American values for the rest of my life. Won’t you join me?