More than 400,000 cheering supporters exuberantly attended the third annual Women’s March in Downtown Los Angeles to stand up for women’s rights and equality. With this year’s theme, “Truth to Power,” many of the protest signs reflected a sense of frustration, anger and sadness. Millions more marched around the nation, including the nation’s capital.
“It’s so so important to be here,” bisexual Julio Santana told the Los Angeles Blade.
“I really wanted to be part of a movement that advocates for women’s, trans and immigrant rights,” said Santana, who was walking at the March with his friends. “And this protest can bring more awareness of what’s happening.”
During his speech to the lively crowd, mayor Eric Garcetti was adamant about the need for change.
“We need to step up in our board rooms … to make sure women aren’t just given lip service but are given power,” he said. “We want gender equity now, in Los Angeles and across the country.”
Despite the recent anti-semitism controversy with the leaders of the New York City organization, most of the people who attended the DTLA march supported the movement’s main goals, like racial justice, LGBTQ and immigration rights, and fighting President Trump’s unfair policies.
“We touch on so many issues because so many issues affect women,” said Emiliana Guereca, director of Women’s March Los Angeles. “And I think that’s part of why we’re successful.”
Gay rabbi, Robin Podolsky, who was volunteering at the Jewish progressive organization, Bend the Arc’s booth, felt the March reflected the diverse nature of Los Angeles.
“The March was very L.A; people of every color gender, age size and ability were there,” she enthused. “There was a great feeling of solidarity.”
While several people who stopped by asked why the Jewish organization was present at the DTLA event, “we explained that our group works on human rights issues within the U.S., we agree with the Unity Principles of the March, and think lively debate and mutual learning within the broad movement is healthy.”
Joe Smith was manning the LGBT Center’s resistance squad table. “We are doing a postcard action where we ask state lawmakers to create funding for lesbian, queer, and bisexual women’s health. They are the least funded out of all the members of our community. “We want to change that.”
Numerous celebrities talked to the crowd throughout the day, like trans actress/activist, Laverne Cox.
“Our coming together today is a resistance. We come with demands for justice, for equity. We come today peaceably, but we also come to fight.”
Cox continued: “The achieving of basic human rights, dignity, justice or equity for one group of people does not mean that something is being taken from another group. That’s scarcity thinking and scarcity thinking will always drive us further from each other.”
Cox talked to many supporters in the crowd as well, like political speech strategist/media trainer, Richard Greene.
“To see proud gay and transgender women, like the beautiful and remarkable Laverne Cox, makes the experience of being here even deeper and richer,” acknowledged Greene, who was at the March with his daughter.
“I can’t think of anything more important for a father to do than take his daughter to a woman’s March. To see so many proud, confident women standing tall in their femininity, supported by conscious men who are not intimidated by feminine power is a view into the future that all fathers should dream of for their little girls.”
Greene feel that the Marches held across the U.S. are not just about going against Donald Trump. “They are about something far more important than he could ever dream to be—the divine quality of universal equality. And pretty soon, this dream will become a reality everywhere.”
Many activists gave impassioned speeches, like Michae Pulido, policy strattegist and co-organizer of The TransLatin@ Coalition.
“A huge reason why my community faces so much violence is because society cannot handle us, cannot take us-even though we’ve always been here. They are afraid of our magic, afraid of our ability to reject and transcend gender, afraid of our own unique femininity,” she said onstage.
Pulido talked exclusively with the Blade about the experience of being at the March.
“It was great to see trans women of color out in the crowd and to know that I was providing a voice for my community.”
Still, Pulido felt there could be more attention spent on trans women.
“It was disheartening that there were few trans women speakers,” she noted. “There must be more intentional inclusion of trans women within the March program, while also educating the staff and volunteers about trans inclusivity.”