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Walnut Creek Magazine

Marching For Humanity

Jan 13, 2017 12:34PM ● By Cale Finta


On January 21, individuals across the country will stand together in peaceful resistance to the new administration.

By Martha Ross, East Bay Times reporter and Walnut Creek Magazine contributor

Jordan Spiegel cried the night Donald Trump was elected president. The 14-year-old Walnut Creek high school freshman looked forward to the first female president, and despaired the sexist, racist and xenophobic rhetoric that marked the celebrity mogul’s campaign. Her sadness transformed into jubilant resolve when her aunt offered to fly the two of them to the nation’s capital for the January 21 Women’s March on Washington, the day after Trump is sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. “It’s an incredible opportunity,” said the Las Lomas JV Cheerleader with a tae kwon do black belt. Spiegel and her aunt will join an estimated 250,000 people from around the country in a show of unity. While it’s not billed as a protest, organizers want the new administration to know with “numbers too great to ignore” that “women’s rights are human rights.”

Augmenting those numbers will be “sister” events in all 50 states. In Northern California, rallies are planned in San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, Walnut Creek, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa and Sacramento. So far, over 60,000 have verified their plans to attend the Northern California rallies, according to the march Facebook pages. Renee McKenna, a spokeswoman for the volunteer coalition organizing the Bay Area marches, said the events welcome everyone — men, families, people of color, immigrants, LGBTQ people — who support women’s rights.

Whether near or far, these events give people an opportunity to come together in solidarity, support and hope. Shelly Glennon of San Jose will travel with a group of 13, comprised of San Jose’s Presentation High School alumni, their friends and teenage daughters. Amber Evans of Oakland plans to rendezvous with an old friend who lives in San Diego. And Alameda’s Christine Strena will rally in front of the Sacramento Capitol with her mother and best friends, while her daughter, Sophia, a senior at Encinal High School, travels to DC for the Women’s March on Washington as a part of her project for an advanced government class.

Girls and women interviewed, all said Trump’s rise to power, has spurred a new political movement of peaceful resistance— beyond voting, signing petitions or contributing to a campaign. “It feels like Caesar crossing the Rubicon,” said Jennifer Morris, who is attending the Women’s Washington March on with her 13-year-old daughter and family members from Seattle and New York. “This feels different and scary.”

While organizers of the Women’s March on Washington faced some logistical hurdles — the march won’t take place at the Lincoln Memorial because that area, like other popular stretches of federal property, have been reserved by Trump’s inaugural committee — they’ve confirmed a starting location: 10 a.m. at Independence Avenue and Third Street SW, near the U.S. Capitol. Participants will most likely march west along Independence Avenue, though the official route is yet to be determined.

“We’re still going no matter what,” said Jordan, who will also meet up in Washington with a preschool friend and her mother.  She, too, never thought she would feel passionately enough about a cause to want to take to the streets. “Everything in my life has been pretty smooth,” she said. “I want to stand up for people’s rights. I’m ecstatic about going.”


While some details for Bay Area marches are being worked out, here is what has been announced so far for Jan. 21. For updates on each location, visit Women’s March Bay Area or Women’s March on America

San Francisco: Rally at Civic Center 4pm to 6pm, then a march along Market Street ending at Justin Herman Plaza.

Oakland: Rally and march are scheduled for 10am to 3pm, starting at 9th and Madison streets and heading to Frank Ogawa Plaza.

San Jose: Rally and march are scheduled for 10am to 3pm., starting at San Jose City Hall and heading to Plaza de César Chávez.

Walnut Creek: A rally and march in downtown Walnut Creek from 10:30am to 1pm was scheduled to allow participants to hop on BART and join the rally at San Francisco’s Civic Center. The Walnut Creek event begins at Civic Park, with a march through the downtown ending near the BART station. More information is available at the Women’s March-Walnut Creek/Contra Costa Facebook page.

Santa Cruz: A rally and march start at 1:30 p.m. at City Hall and end at Louden Nelson Community Center. For more information visit the Women’s March on Washington DC-Santa Cruz County blog.
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