Around 37,000 marchers, including students from UC San Diego, gathered to rally together for the second annual Women’s March on Saturday, Jan. 20. Locally themed “Hear Our Vote,” the march took place at Waterfront Park, with a sister march occurring simultaneously at Palomar College in North County.
The event began with a performance from the San Diego Women’s Choir, followed by several speeches from local leaders such as Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-53) and California Assemblymember and former San Diego State University professor Dr. Shirley Weber (AD79-D). Among additional speakers were local activists, who discussed topics such as the repeal of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), incarcerated women’s rights, and the visibility of Filipino American women. Carrying banners that supported their own personal beliefs or represented a general disdain toward the current presidential administration, the marchers made themselves heard with chants like “Si se puede (Yes you can)” and “Stand up fight back.”
Marcus Chan, a first year Visual Arts major at UCSD who attended Saturday’s march as an ally, said that the event was important because people are all facing different kinds of struggles and it shows that everyone is connected. “This march is about all women, not just one type of woman, which is why it is important that everyone is involved,” Chan said.
Under the national theme of “Power to the Polls,” the one year anniversary march was intended to “show this administration that women are not backing down,” according to the Women’s March website. The National Women’s March Twitter account urged supporters to register to vote if they had not already done so, and to encourage their friends and family to do the same: only 58 percent of the American electorate voted in the 2016 general election, which has been coupled with a trend of voter turnout decreasing during midterm elections.
Heidi Gomez, an undeclared first year student who attended the march, stressed that voting is extremely important, especially for students. “Millennials need to vote,” Gomez said. “Not voting is not resisting; it is giving up.”
The Women’s March was created after the results of the 2016 presidential election inspired Teresa Shook, Evvie Harmon, Fontaine Pearson, and Bob Bland to hold a march on Washington, eventually gaining prominence via social media. On Jan. 21, 2017, women around the world came together the day after President Trump’s inauguration in order to protest the sexism and bigotry they felt the President was complicit in. Since then, the organization has gone on to become a key player in American politics, playing a role in the organizing of 2017’s People’s Summit in Chicago, as well as hosting the Women’s March Convention in Detroit during October of 2017.
The Women’s March has generated controversy due to accusations that the pink pussy hats prevalent in the march are exclusionary. Amarachi Metu, a fourth year student (and The Triton’s Assistant Arts and Culture Editor), echoed these concerns and did not attend the march. “I was frustrated by the rhetoric of the conversation,” she said. “It seems like we were prioritizing the ‘need for a protest,’ rather than the communities that need support.”
San Diego’s march occurred alongside similar marches across the world held during that weekend, including the culminating march in Las Vegas, as well as marches in Los Angeles, Chicago, London, and Rome.
Jacob Sutherland is a contributing writer for The Triton.