A sea of pink merged into the still harbor of Downtown San Diego as nearly 37,000 individuals marched with signs reading phrases such as: “A woman’s place is in the House and the Senate,” “Vote=Power,” “Democracy is not a spectator sport,” “Resist the patriarchy,” and “Power to the polls.”
On Saturday, Jan. 20, San Diego’s second annual Women’s March drew in a varied crowd; children and elders, men and women, political leaders and minimum wage workers alike marched the streets.
According to the Women’s March San Diego website, their mission “is to harness the political power of diverse women and their communities to create transformative social change.”
The main objective of this year’s theme, “Hear Our Vote,” was to promote the idea that voices matter most when translated into votes. During the opening ceremony, one of the speakers proclaimed into the crowd: “We are not free until we are all free! This is why we need to hit the polls and vote and also elect passionate leaders…”
As the speakers continued throughout the hour, they covered a wide range of topics including: racial inequality, injustice toward indigenous peoples, women’s rights abuses, the presidency of Donald Trump, human trafficking and much more.
Lauren Carlson, PLNU junior psychology major, was one of many Point Loma students who attended the march. Carlson spoke to why her and her peers attended the march, saying: “We wanted to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, and this was a way to connect with the San Diego community. And we wanted to use our first amendment rights to speak up for ourselves and for those who don’t have a voice.”
Although many people showed up to the march, there are a large number of San Diegans who disagree with the ideas of the Women’s March. And because the event rallied around so many different causes and beliefs, some individuals found it difficult to support the event in its entirety.
Junior athletic training and applied health science major Sarah Lentz told The Point about her struggle to fully support the Women’s March. Lentz said that although she aligns with the issues that the march supports, she finds it difficult to show up to an event that promotes love yet yells profanity in contempt of the country’s president.
“With my personal and faith-based views, I don’t feel comfortable shouting aggressive phrases about the president even though I don’t think he is a good fit for the Office,” said Lentz.
Many voices joined together in San Diego to raise awareness of women’s rights and other human rights issues in the U.S. The marchers hope that voters will make their voices known in the coming elections.
Lindsey Lupo is a professor and co-chair of the History and Political Science Department at Point Loma Nazarene University.
“People have control over the policy agenda. All forms of political participation—whether it’s marching, voting, working on a campaign, contacting your member of Congress, or running for office—help the democracy achieve these two ideals,” said Lupo.
On all sides of political affiliation and representation, protests and social movements have long been imbedded within American society.
In the words of Carlson: “It’s about being able to stand up for what you believe in, in [a] peaceful way… everyone’s voice can and should be heard, no matter who you are.”