The Final CountDown: 3 by Mary-Wren Ritchie

If I were to write a book based on the past couple of weeks it would be called “Life Via Technology: A Memoir.” I received more emails last week than I did my entire freshman year accumulated. Phone calls made me stupidly nervous freshman year; if I couldn’t order food online, it wasn’t getting ordered. Now I’m calling professional organizations and asking them to participate in SlutWalk UNCC. It’s amazing how much can change in three years.

Speaking of change, Feb. 8 I participated in Moral March. Being part of the estimated 75,000 to 100,000 people protesting the extreme regression North Carolina lawmakers have enacted over the last couple of years was empowering. People are angry with how women, teachers, voters, the environment, students, etc are being treated. Protesters marched, chanted, held signs and sang together to send the message that North Carolinians do not support the actions taken by the state.

I served as bus captain on the Planned Parenthood bus that took people from Charlotte to Raleigh to participate in the protest. I was in charge of 32 passengers on the bus, many old enough to be my parents. Some of these passengers had fought for many of the same social causes in the ‘60s and won. Now they’re angry that the state is trying to pave over their victories. These people are veterans and role models, and here I was 5 feet 0 inches tall, a little girl giving directions to people who should be directing me. I was terrified. Our trip was stressful, and it was also one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I went as a passionate and frustrated girl; I returned a hopeful and respected woman. I have never been more proud of my fellow citizens and myself. Participating in the Moral March instilled in me a sense of determination in my fight for justice, love for the people, and hope for the future.

I mentioned that standing 5-foot makes me feel like a little girl. My height is something that makes me feel less authoritative. However, this weekend showed me that the amount of physical space I take up is in no way indicative of the amount of power I have. With the help of people like those who marched Saturday, I can change the world. This is where my life is heading. It’s going to take a lot work, but it’s going to be worth it.