Growing up my dad, Robby Herd, was raised by parents that instilled in him the values of treating each person as equal. Both his mom, Colette, and dad, Bob, came from households that weren’t always inclusive of everyone. With families who were raised in the South, his parents wanted to break the cycle of racism and sexism in their family. Therefore, his parents wanted to instill in their two sons that each person was equal, “[I was] raised in a house where people should be judged on how they are… they’re just looked at as a person” remarks Robby.
My dad has always attempted to teach me and my two sisters that we can do anything a man can do. “That’s why I ended up becoming a teacher” my dad tells me, wanting to show his students that they can have equal opportunities no matter their gender or race. Often in the classroom, Robby has to explain to a male student that their female classmates can do anything that they can, and that he won’t tolerate any type of sexist attitudes in his classroom.
As a child, my dad read a lot of books about strong women; becoming acquainted with figures in history like Sally Ride and Eleanor Roosevelt. He took a great interest in learning about the suffrage movement, trying to understand why there was a separation between men and women. He remarks that it was just second nature in his house to treat people with respect, regardless of their race or gender, to judge them off of their character and not their appearance.
He says that he was always taught that “intelligence is not based on gender or race.” During his college days, following a sexual assault accusation against players on the football team, which was swept under the rug due to the players being on the team, my dad wrote a column speaking against the handing of the situation. It got published in the local paper and he got a bit of heat for writing it, but he was adamant about standing up against that kind of sexism on his campus. Throughout the years, my dad has been a champion for women and women’s rights. He refused to vote for Bill Clinton after the sexual assault allegations came to light, and voted for a third party. He also walked in the 2016 Women’s March in Denver, Colorado with my five year old sister. Her mom and my dad made a sign for her, and together, the three of them marched for women’s equality.
In light of all of the political sexual assault scandals, my dad tells me how important it is, now more so than ever, to stand up for those women who have been marginalized by a sexist system. “It’s one thing to talk about this stuff, it’s another to back it up with action.” He remarks that if these men can get away with attacking women, then we aren’t fighting hard enough for equality.
“It takes a lot of fortitude”, he remarks, to stand up for these women, but “we need to be out there and support the women.” Robby knows that men need to be held accountable, no mater if they’re in politics, on TV, or in someone’s everyday life. It is incredibly important for both men and women to speak up for women’s rights, or we can never achieve equality. All you can do, my dad tells me, is to “try and control your little corner of the world.” He encourages us to call our senators to ensure that men who think it’s okay to sexually take advantage of a woman never gets into office. “If every person took that step as a father, a community member, we would make a lot of progress.”