Why I march, obligation to seek justice

Yvonne Nguyen

In my backyard, in my nation and in my world, there has been an uprising of the people, and we marched. In one week, I participated in three marches. First, I participated in the MLK D.A.R.E. (Day of Action, Resistance and Empowerment) March for a Better America in Philadelphia on Jan. 16 (MLK Day). Second, I marched in the Solidarity March on Villanova’s campus on Friday, Jan. 20 (Inauguration Day). Third, I was in the Women’s March in Philadelphia, one of 673 worldwide sister marches, on Jan. 21.

Silence is violence. Being a bystander to injustice is no better than being a perpetrator. It’s time we stop talking the talk at Villanova and start marching the march. 

During the Villanova Solidarity March, as a speaker, I proclaimed my reasons for marching which I share here in hopes that you will hear your duty to fight for basic human rights and to march. 

“I march as a child of two immigrant refugees, a bisexual, woman of color, who has lacked basic healthcare and been of lower socioeconomic class for most of my life. However, I never forget, as a student of this University, I have been afforded the privilege and luxury of education. I have been given access to power, student power—with such power comes great responsibility. As college students, we are able to observe, study and understand the world and its injustices, in the comfort of our classrooms. We must truly lean into discomfort and delve into real-world problems. For, with observation, there is an obligation to speak and work for justice. Observation equals obligation. To be a good global citizen and neighbor is not only to understand the afflictions of another, but, since we can, to work together to heal the wounds in our society. I march because if not me, then who? If not now, then when? This movement starts with our community, with our relationships, with us. The movement starts now.

I, a Villanova student, stand for all marginalized people on campus, in our country and across the globe. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ The time is now to uphold our Augustinian values of veritas, unitas, and caritas. We must seek justice and truth, veritas, as a united, unshakable community, unitas, with our inner catalyst of compassion and love, caritas. I march in solidarity with all marginalized groups— women, immigrants, refugees, Muslims, Jews, people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, people with disabilities, the impoverished, the imprisoned, the elderly and more because I am Villanova. And, this is what we, the Villanova community, march in solidarity for—for justice and equality for all—with the utter rejection towards complacency for prejudice and bigotry. It starts here and now. Ignite Change. Go Nova.”