A platform at the South Pasadena Gold Line Station was filled to capacity Saturday morning as thousands headed to the second Women’s March in downtown Los Angeles exactly one year after millions marched across the country and around the world for women’s rights.
More than a million demonstrators throughout the nation hit the streets, including thousands in LA who walked from Pershing Square to City Hall following a ceremonial kickoff. Mayor Eric Garcetti told the crowd that marchers were estimated at 600,000.
The mantra for this year’s event was “Power to the Polls,” meant to encourage more women to register to vote and seek elected positions at the city, state and national level.
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Some in the crowd chanted “Vote,” “Elect Women” and “Kiss my ballot!” At the mainstage, they were also led in echo-back chants of “Show me what democracy looks like – THIS is what democracy looks like!”, “Whose streets? OUR streets!” and “People – Power – People – Power!”
Marches were being conducted across the country Saturday, including New York, Washington D.C., Las Vegas, Chicago, Philadelphia and many other cities.
Women, men and children took to the street in Los Angeles full of hope for a better future of female empowerment.
South Pasadenans were among the thousands who said they felt empowered by marching and compelled to march again. Lissa Reynolds said, “I march because the Equal Rights Amendement is still not the law of the land! To encourage women to run for office. To encourage women and support women who are running for office. To encourage people to VOTE! And To resist and make positive force for change.”
Marie Lopez exclaimed, “what an inspiring experience marching for change with likeminded, strong and passionate women! Awesome!”
During the early moments of the Women’s March on Saturday, one speaker proclaimed that last year people marched because of the unknown, and now, a year later, people are marching because of the known. Because of the difficulty of getting to the Women’s March in DTLA in 2017, people seemed to show up earlier on the platform of the South Pasadena Gold Line, while others took alternative transportation such taxis and chartered buses. Once again, people were in high spirits despite the urgency of their message and feelings about politics in general.
Once again it was a peaceful rally, with individuals being courteous as they made their way through the crowds complimenting each other’s signs, which were creative, with encouraging slogans, whilst others seemingly aimed directly at the 45th president.
But a year is a long time in politics and a new movement has been born since January 20th 2017, namely #MeToo and #TimesUp. The emphasis on women coming forward with their stories about sexual harassment, assault and rape; certainly no light subject, has galvanized people even more.
The vast bulk of the speakers were women this year, though a few men did take the stage to support and encourage. As usual, the Los Angeles crowd was about as diverse as a city can be. Black, White, Asian, from the young to the very wise, gay, lesbian, Trans, straight. The starting stage at Hill and 5th in Pershing Square had over two hours of speakers. This was just the beginning of the day, to gather people before the march to City Hall, and before even the last three speakers were done, people were eager to start marching with calls to ‘March! March! March!’. The organizers were feeling the pressure, and the crowd wanted to release their energy into the streets of DTLA.
Local advocate Tanya Parker had this to say, “The Women’s March on Saturday was reinvigorating! It’s been a year now since we elected a President who is not interested in working towards making this country a better place.”
She went on to explain, “this was a moment to proclaim that the resistance is still very much here and that we will continue every day to fight the hurtful policies of this administration. One of the big themes of the march was the upcoming congressional mid-term elections in November. There were lots of signs eluding to that – “The Blue Wave is Coming”, “Grab ’em by the Mid-Terms” – and many of the speeches at the beginning of the march encouraged this movement that we have started to extend to real action by voting in candidates, especially women, in the November election who will speak for the marginalized in our society. Our Indivisible South Pasadena chapter is planning to do just that – we’re teaming up with local grassroots organizations in our neighboring CA-25 district that is currently held by Representative Steven Knight (R) to vote in a progressive, female candidate.”
South Pasadena resident Monika Petrillo summed it up saying, “It was an incredible experience to be there, among hundreds of thousands of other like-minded people. And I loved going with my friends from South Pasadena. But my absolute favorite part was attending this important event with two generations of women. Our teenage daughters will remember this forever, I’m sure. They loved watching everybody’s signs and came up with their own chants, like “We are not boys. Hear our voice!” And I hope it gave them an idea of how powerful “girl power” really can be.”
Contributors to this article – Bill Glazier, Alisa Hayashida, David Beadle
South Pasadenans attend the LA Women's March January 20, 2018