Women’s March on the Nation
In 2011, Donald Trump sent a New York Times column he disagreed with back to its columnist, Gail Collins, with “Face of a Dog!” written across her picture. This is one instance of Trump’s misogynistic interactions with women. He has repeatedly sexualized women, called them “fat,” “ugly” and “pieces of ass,” and said “you have to treat ‘em like shit.”
Millions of people, mainly women, came together to protest this one man, in the biggest recorded protest in history. On Jan. 21, in 673 cities, Women’s Marches were held to protest the inauguration of the new U.S. president. The march was part of a worldwide movement led by the Women’s March on Washington, in response to the rhetoric, values and agenda of the Trump administration.
Across the world, millions of people peacefully demonstrated with intricate signs and pink hats. The march was about more than Trump’s rhetoric about women. It was a protest for the rights of all vulnerable communities, including immigrants, people of color, those with disabilities and the LGBTQIA+ community.
Women’s March on Santa Cruz
As I tried to remain objective, it was hard not to be swept away with the beauty and emotion of the Women’s March, the speeches and the music. As a foreigner who is relatively new to Santa Cruz, this was perhaps the first time I have truly understood the character of this county. -Sofia Cogliano
Just a day after the inauguration protests, the streets of downtown Santa Cruz were again flooded with protesters. About 10,000 people marched from City Hall down Pacific Avenue for the Santa Cruz Women’s March on Washington. The march concluded in Laurel Park, where community organizers hosted an afternoon of performances given by local musicians and community speakers.
Protesters carried homemade signs as they walked alongside dancers and musicians. Cheering and chanting erupted as Planned Parenthood workers stepped out of work to wave from a balcony on Pacific Avenue. City officials and the march’s organizers were surprised by the turnout — Mayor Cynthia Mathews said she expected 500 people.
“I had no idea how this was going to be, what the attendance was going to be. I am in awe and I physically have a reaction of amazing hope,” said the executive director of the Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County (CAB) MariaElena De La Garza.
Representatives from CAB stood on stage and thanked protesters. They spoke passionately about supporting and engaging with local organizations in Santa Cruz County.
“Don’t be fearful, be the change. Be awakened in this time. Be aware and then be a voice,” said gospel and jazz singer Tammi Brown, who performed in Laurel Park. “If we don’t stand together, we will divide and divided we fall.”
The rally continued in the Louden Nelson Center, where rooms were filled with local organizations whose causes are threatened under President Trump and his administration. Planned Parenthood, which has been in the spotlight in recent months after Trump claimed he would deny it federal funding, was one of the many organizations represented.
“I do transgender care. I provide abortion care and I feel hugely [vulnerable],” said Planned Parenthood worker Dr. Jennifer Hastings. “Everything that I am, my gender identity, everything in my personal life and everything in my professional life is threatened, so it’s really frightening.”
However, the rights at risk for Planned Parenthood were not the only ones discussed. Other issues, such as immigration rights and environmental policy, were referenced throughout the day.
“All of us are at risk if we don’t do something,” said former Mayor and Secretary of California Natural Resources Agency John Laird. “We have to seize the debate back. [The Trump administration] can’t think that they can set the debate on climate change. They don’t get to declare it’s a hoax.”
While the march was born out of defiance, its success instilled some hope in Santa Cruz.
“I’m marching for rights for women, for immigrants, for queer people, just to protect all of the things that I love. Also, for a good future for my daughters,” said Sarah, a protester present at the march. “Keep loving, keep fighting.”
Women’s March on San Fransisco
The magnitude of 100,000 people is unreal, and practically indescribable, especially to look into the crowd and see it full of beautiful women’s faces — mothers, daughters, middle school girls and decades-long activists. It’s difficult to describe because of how intertwined the experience of a protest is with personal emotion. Covering this moment in history was moving, and I couldn’t help but feel connected to everyone there. I wish this was something my mom, who is back home in Fresno and voted for the first time in her life this election, could have felt the power from as well. -Allison Hollender, author
A sea of colorful umbrellas bobbed up and down, shielding the crowd in the San Francisco Women’s March from the rain as 100,000 people danced and chanted before marching about two miles down Market Street. These people, mostly women, were celebrating despite the current political unrest. They came to resist and stand against a Donald Trump presidency.
The San Francisco Women’s March included mothers, daughters, undocumented immigrants, LGBTQIA+ community, people of color and many others who were hurt and angered by Trump’s election. The march was an expression of identity, and about uniting in a physical space to demand political change.
“The reality is that had things gone differently, we might [not have] gathered here today,” said Ameena Jandali, one of the speakers at the rally and a founding member of Islamic Networks Group. “What has brought us together is the reality that all of our struggles are the same and that we are stronger together.”
Some attendees admitted they were usually passive in politics, but felt with the current national discourse they had no choice but to protest. Others had a history of political activism, like Kathy Vite, who attended many LGBTQIA+ parades. She was active in both the Obama and Clinton campaigns, but even with her experience in political engagement, the amount of people at the Women’s March was unlike anything she had ever seen.
“We need to stand up and be heard and let the country know we are not going to just lie down and take this Trump administration,” Vite said. “I thought it was really important for my daughter — she is 15 now — to witness activism like this.”
For sisters Jennifer and Monica Chinchilla, the protest was a time to organize and mobilize for intersectional causes, like immigration reform and reproductive rights, that are already being affected by the Trump presidency.
“These are all our fights,” Monica Chinchilla said, huddled under an umbrella with her sister. “We are not going to let hate, racism or bigotry take control of this country, and we are here to show love trumps hate.”
Additional reporting by Savanna Heydon.